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Bluebird
“Here comes Santa Claus, here comes Santa Claus,” I sang at the top of my lungs.             “Right down Santa Claus Lane!” Preston joined in.             It was the night of Christmas Eve and I was driving with Preston to his parents’ house. We were going to spend the night and exchange gifts in the morning. As we drove through the snow, Preston and I belted out our favorite Christmas carols.             I inhaled deeply, grinning as my favorite smells entered my nose. I could practically taste his mom’s gingerbread and apple pie. The other air freshener filled the car with the sharp scent of pine trees. Christmas was my favorite time of year.             “Here comes Santa Claus,” Preston started again. Then I saw her in the dark night.             The little girl wore a tattered blue coat. She waddled onto the train tracks and started playing with the white fluff on the ground. Her chubby hands dug into the ground, though she wasn’t wearing any mittens. Her chocolate colored cu…

Could Unicorns Exist?

-Hannah-



So. Unicorns. Do we need to go over the basics? They're white horses with one twisted horn in the center of their forehead. Other details of their appearance and their powers vary with the time period. History The ancient Greeks were the first to record unicorns, not as mythical creatures, but as actual natural things found in India, at that time a distant and mystical realm in relation to Greece. The first-ever description of them, found in a book called Indika (On India), describes them as fleet-footed wild asses with a horn two and a quarter feet long.


However several seals from the Indus Valley have what look like unicorns on them (above) dated about 2000 years before the Ancient Greeks began to flourish. It is debatable whether they are unicorns or cows with two horns but printed with bad perspective. 
Moving on to the Middle Ages. A mistranslation in the King James Version of the Bible meant that Unicorns were incorrectly substituted for rhinos, bulls or ox. Subsequ…

3 Tips On Writing Songs in Stories

- Germaine -

So you want to write songs in stories, but have no idea where to start? Unfortunately for you, I have no idea how to write songs, too. But before you begin to despair, here are a few tips I've learned from reading a few books. 1. Songs DO NOT need to rhyme I see this a lot. It's a little annoying when it's overused in the same book, especially when the author seems to run out of rhymes.

I'm not saying, "don't rhyme your songs at all." Some songs that rhyme are actually quite good.

I'm saying, "think about it." If the song you're writing fits well with your story, go for it. But if it seems out of place, you might want to consider rewriting it. The worst case scenario would be to delete it entirely and erase all traces of it from your story. 2. Write songs like you're writing poetry Songs are poems, after all. So wouldn't it be fun to just throw out some deep, meaningful figurative language? Of course, it would have to…

Plot Elements (Disney Alert)

-Brynbellion-


Plot elements are what makes a story a story. Romance, betrayal, impossible odds, to name a few. In this post I'm going to look at classic plot elements, discuss them, and put a spin on them.

Classic Disney Princess Plot Elements:
Romance
Rebellion
Magic
Good vs Evil
Unhealthy Social Systems

Remember that Disney Princess movies are, for the most part, based off of some of the first fairy tales. So these elements are in both pop culture and writing history.

Romance
Romance is timeless. It's relatable, desirable, and adorable (it's a matter of perspective, okay?). Romance is somewhat overused, yet is not cliche. It's a good way of endearing your characters to readers and pulling these readers into the story (aka shipping). To surprise your audience, pull a cliche-breaker. The girl can end up with the sidekick or the comic relief character. Your protagonist could have a hard time choosing a girl, given the inevitable fawning crowd.

Rebellion
This is a good ele…

Windows to the Soul

-Hannah-
Today we look at character descriptions.
What do appearances say about a character's personality?

Quite a lot, actually. Authors use descriptions as an easy way of giving the reader a first impression of a character without having to go into any particular effort.

Cicero once said that "the face is a picture of the mind," and this can be true, especially in books or movies. Authors generally want to give you as much information as possible about their characters (unless they're deliberately hiding things) and will use the opportunity to describe their character's appearance to their advantage.

Look at this extract from Harry Potter and the Philosopher's stone, where Hagrid is described:

A giant of a man was standing in the doorway. His face was almost completely hidden by a long, shaggy mane of hair and a wild, tangled beard, but you could make out his eyes, glinting like black beetles under all the hair.

This is J.K.Rowling's opportunity to give…

School's Clutches

- Grace -
(A poem and a parody)
Here is the truth about Humpty Dumpty. Hidden from all until now. Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall, Humpty Dumpty wouldn’t have died If he hadn’t had tests that had his brain fried. Too much knowledge was stuffed in his brain, So much that he was in lots of pain, It only took a hit on his head, For all of his knowledge to make him dead.
This is a parody of a parody (seriously 😊) of the song What a Friend We Have in Jesus (made by Megan, Hudson and I) When this school year’s finally over, No more studying for me. When I finally have some free time, Oh, how happy I shall be. No more studying on the weekends, No more stressing out for me. I’ll wave goodbye to all my teachers, How I’ll miss them, how they’ll grieve.

Cool Words. Because Why Not?

- Jo -
This should come as no surprise to you: I like words. They're useful things on the whole and almost all of them have or have had huge value. However, I am of the opinion that all words are not created equal. Some of them are useful and boring, while others are more fun than a dozen more combined. Now, I don't know if you do this, but I find myself often interrupting myself to remark on my admiration for a particular word that had come up in conversation. Unfortunately, the reasons for this love are as varied as they are arbitrary, so there's no telling which word will next catch my fancy. And you never know, some of these might actually come in handy to you, too. Still, it's important to note that this is by no means a comprehensive list.

Gelatinous - I was in the car on the way to church some weeks back and I had a question sloshing around in my head: "Are there words in English that have all five vowels? Surely, right? So, how many of them are there?"…

Intercessor

- Megan -
Intercessor I remember when I was falling, like they do now,

Now I fly, on the wings of my Father

But look, Lord – She's still falling

You carry me Lord, why not him? Won't you rescue her too?

They cry out, begging me to catch them,

But turn a blind eye when I point to their Maker

How, Lord, can I make this work?

I ask her, I tell him. I knock at their doors

I beg my Father to show them the light,

But no response comes from either side.

I have to do something – they continue to fall

I worry and fret, I can't just let them go!

I trust in my own strength, I reach in to grab her,

But he doesn't start flying, and now I'm tumbling too

I've filled my heart with their problems, now I can't hold on to Him

I cry out just like they do, and my Maker comes again

He's taught me a lesson, and now I have learned

That it isn't my job, to carry their load

The I AM is the one who carries the world

And as the Father pulls me back under His…

Slime Eels

-Guest post by ES-
Looking for a strange creature to go in your book? This one's perfect and IT ACTUALLY EXISTS!
Hagfish, or more commonly known as Slime eels, are a group of jawless soft bodied organisms that belong to the Myxinidae family. There are more than sixty different types of hagfish living in the midnight zone worldwide and not much is known about them. They have developed an extraordinary defense mechanism and are expert scavengers. I hope you will enjoy reading this post and find it very helpful.

Food: Hagfish have an excellent sense of smell and touch but even though they have two tiny markings that could be mistaken for eyes Hagfish happen to be blind. Sight is not needed if you live in the inky blackness at the bottom of the sea, so they have adapted to the desolate landscape and have become expert scavengers. If they happen to stumble upon a dead fish, Hagfish lacking teeth have an extraordinary method of consuming their find. They use their rasping tongue to su…

To Wed or Not To Wed

When writing, point of view is very important. The main character is the most liked one, so it's important to pick your main character. I've written a short story from 3 different perspectives to show you what I mean. Elizabelle's Point of View: I stood in front of Colton with tears in my eyes. It was time to say "I do." It was time to be pronounced "man and wife." It was time for our first kiss. This was the most important moment of my life and everything was perfect. "If anyone has a reason why these two should not be wed, speak now." I hear Pastor Phillips voice say. I waited for the moment to pass so we could finally be officially married. Then I hear "Please don't do this." I turn suddenly and see everyone staring horrified at a man in the back row. I squint at the man's face, then gasp. It was Kade. Kade and I had been best friends since we were 3 years old. We met on a playground when he helped me up onto the top of t…

On Writing Mentors

So. Mentors. How do you make them original?

1. Think Before You Kill Them Off Mentors always die.

There's a reason for this. The hero needs to be able to solve his own problems. If the mentor is still there with the hero, the hero is going to end up saving the world in no time flat. The hero needs to be independent and go and save the world on their own. So that's why mentors are always killed off.

So why don't we bend the cliche?

If the hero needs to be without the mentor, do something with the mentor that doesn't involve killing him off! Maybe the mentor is on vacation and the hero is unable to send a message to him. Maybe the mentor is mentoring someone else and does not want to be disturbed. Or why not, maybe the mentor has just been cursed to fall asleep for a hundred years.
2. Make Them Look Different There's one other thing about mentors.

They're almost always old, experienced men.

Imagine if there was a wider range of mentors. Young men who've been th…

Tick Tock Goes the Clock

Writing. Words. Worlds. Scribbles. Languages. Imaginations.
(This bit is entirely random, you may ignore it if you wish.)

This post is for everyone who says they are too busy to write - I plead guilty - so let me tell you (and myself) that being too busy to write is impossible! All you have to do is carry around a pen or pencil or writing device and paper or a notebook - if you'd rather write in there - then stop somewhere - it can be in the car for all I care - and start scribbling words.

Please don't tell me you walk to school or never sit down for a break from something or that you never ever have 1 minute or less when you are doing absolutely nothing. Because you will get an extremely skeptical, maybe even confuddled - or if I'm really shocked, a conbafflated look.

For those who don't know, confuddled is confused and something else, and conbaffleated is confused, baffled and frustrated all at once.

You can write when you're sitting in the car, you can write dur…

10 Tips for Being Creative

We've all been there. You're really excited about this awesome project that you're going to do, and then you sit down to brainstorm ideas for it and there's just a blank page of endless nothingness.

Well, here are a few tips I have picked up that are actually quite helpful.

1. Exercise daily. It actually works. Even walking just two miles a day can really stimulate your brain. Also, it reduces the risk of things like dementia in later life, so it's definitely worth a try. Studies have shown that people who exercise four times or more in a week outperform those who don't. So get walking! Or running, or whatever it is you do.

2. Research using books. The easier information is to find, the less likely it is to stick on your head. Googling things generally leads to multitasking, which is bad for focus and basically means you won't learn as much. Consulting books and people improve your memory and capacity for learning.

3. Don't multitask. "The jack of…

Innocent One

All the drugs were stowed under Avivit’s bed. “Why do we have to hide them here?” the young girl whined. “Why can't we hide them under Jimmy’s bed?” She dove under her pillows.
     “Shut up,” her much older brother hissed. “All we ever hear from you is what you don't want.” His rancid breath carried a heavy smell of liquor.
     “If you care so much go complain to your mother,” her father told her. “You know not to disturb us when we’re on a job.”
     Avivit pulled her blanket around her and got out of bed, leaving the small, dimly lit room. She found her mother at the kitchen table, sitting beneath the bare light bulb, counting cash next to a half-empty bottle. Avivit noticed this. Her mother must be sad.
     “What's wrong, Mommy?” she asked.
     Her mother turned her tired eyes towards Avivit. “Oh Av,” she said, “what are we going to do? Even we can't postpone the landlord forever, and if your father’s deal doesn't come through, Guy’s cronies will be after u…

A GUIDE TO WORLD BUILDING FOR BORED PEOPLE BY A BORED PERSON

The rest of the Writing Mafia apologises for the turtle. It is not human and fails to empathise with other humans. We are not accountable for any emotional damage it causes you.

I, as a perfectionist writer, enjoy nothing more than deleting everything and starting over...aside from world building of course.


STEP 1  SPREADSHEETS The most important part of world building is staying consistent. ALWAYS BE CONSISTENT. Nothing ruins everything more than inconsistency. What's the best way to keep organised? A large database with rows and columns. Hey! You! Do you know a way of keeping several different graphs in an orderly way that I can access online? No? Well you're an idiot because the answer is Google Sheets. What? You want to know what to put in your spreadsheet? Well Mr(or Mrs or Ms) I can't think for myself. I have sub parts to tell you what to put in them.

SUBSTEP 1 FIRSTLY there are two thing this sheet needs to do. Provide a reference point while writing so you can stay …

An Author's Guide to Playtime (Where Grace gets very dark)

Here is a guide for all authors about how they can have fun when playing with their toys. 😇
Stage One First of all, you need to make your reader fall in love with your characters. This can be achieved by: The character having an awesome personality. e.g. Halt (Ranger’s Apprentice), Glory (Wings of Fire), Percy (Percy Jackson), Connor (The Land of Stories) Making your character relatable. e.g. Greg Heffley (Diary of a Wimpy Kid), August (Wonder) The character having gone through a lot so the reader can sympathize with them. e.g. Felix Salinger (Once, Then, Now, After), Newt (The Maze Runner), Katniss Everdeen (The Hunger Games) A plot twist shining a new light on your character, causing the readers to fall for them. e.g. Severus Snape (Harry Potter), Evly (The Land of Stories)
Stage Two This is the time when you wound your victim (cough, cough, I, of course, mean the character, not the reader at all...). Mwahahahaha! Now, there are several ways to break your readers' hearts. Some are: Kill…

What We Can Learn from Morgan Rice's 'A Quest of Heroes' - A Book Review

I deliberately didn't call this a spoiler-free book review because the book in question is genuinely bad enough that I would spoil it for anyone just to spare them the pain of reading it. And I can just hear you thinking, Surely you're being a bit harsh, no? No! No, I am not. A Quest of Heroes, or as I prefer to call it, 'A Beginner's Guide to Every YA Fantasy Trope Ever', is extraordinarily awful. So, what could we possibly learn from it? Lots. I might as well have dubbed it, 'How Not to Write a Compelling Story', so let's learn from Morgan Rice's mistakes and glean what lessons we can from this pile of chaff.
1. Avoid overused tropes. Yes, I know I've discussed the value of cliches briefly on this blog in my very first post, 'Originality in Writing is Overrated', but you can take it too far. A Quest of Heroes features a young boy who is disliked by his adopted family (but he doesn't know he's adopted), has special and unexplaine…