Friday, December 19, 2014

Dreamscape: A Short Story

I wrote a short story this week! I’m rather proud of myself, since short stories are typically difficult for me. This one was inspired by an exercise from the book Take Ten for Writers, which I highly recommend you get if you want creative prompts for your writing. I’m not usually a fan of writing prompt lists, because most of them bore me, but this book has awesome ideas in it that you can really take wherever you want to. So, without further ado, I present to you Dreamscape.

Dreamscape short story 2

The room was the most vibrant orange I have ever seen, and sensations bounced off its walls like baseballs. Bam! I reeled backward from the impact between my eyes. Whack! Another one drilled into the back of my head. Raising my arms like a shield, I collapsed on the floor, which sent a chill seeping into my body. The invisible sensations continued to pelt me, feeling oddly familiar. Maybe that’s just because I’d been feeling them for the past – how long had I been there? An hour? Two? I couldn’t remember the start of the barrage. I couldn’t even recall entering the room. Whatever was going on was far beyond my control.

The room stilled. Blinking, I raised an arm and glanced out. Nothing. No bruising bounces. No surprise savior. Just the glaringly-bright room. I uncurled slowly, moving carefully in case it started again. Every muscle, ever nerve was alert. Yet nothing happened as I first crouched then stood. Just a stillness that filled my ears to bursting.

Something was wrong with the walls, though. I squinted. They were shimmering, no, melting. From the corners inward, the room around me dripped away to reveal… utter blackness. It swallowed me immediately. My lungs squeezed, and, though I opened my mouth, I could suck nothing in. Where was the precious air I needed in order to survive? Shouldn’t I have passed out? Yet there was no blissful sleep. Only pain and the feeling of my insides shriveling up. How long could I possibly stand this?

Time didn’t matter; space didn’t exist. If there was a floor underneath me, I couldn’t feel it. I’m not even sure whether I stood or lay down. It didn’t matter. I only knew one thing: I was being suffocated, but I didn’t die. And my mind screamed to be released from these dual realities. I don’t remember it ending. There was no specific moment of release. I was unable to even gasp for breath, and then I was curled on the suddenly-solid floor, sobbing. When a chill like a winter day penetrated my body, the tears ceased.

Looking up, I found myself surrounded by mirrors, each portraying me a little differently. In one, I wore glasses, an exaggerated image of the ones I wore at school. Staring at the reflection, I brushed a hand across my face. Though I felt nothing, the glasses remained. Frowning, I moved to another mirror, suddenly remembering an English assignment from ninth grade. The next mirror showed me dancing; friends’ laughter coursed through my head. One mirror depicted me as taller than I was; another made me too short. Aunt Ruth’s disapproving glare came to mind as I spotted my grotesquely tear-streaked face; I imagined Dad’s rare smile when I came across myself holding a book about Law.

Ever so slowly, the mirrors started spinning around me. They picked up speed as I walked until all I saw was my blurred face flashing at me. My head ached until I came to one mirror that stood still. Fighting the glare of a hundred sheets of glass, I studied the image of myself. There was my scar from a childhood mishap. There was the mole and pimple, side-by-side against my nose. I wore my softball gear, as I had been since the beginning of this whole thing. None of the other mirrors had shown that. And none but this one had depicted my green eyes shining. Then a church bell pealed, and every other mirror shattered. Glinting pieces of glass flew through the air, but when they hit me, they turned into harmless drops of water cascading down my skin. And I raised my face to catch them like rain.

The picture in the mirror changed, brightening and filling in the edges with flowers. My uniform became a long, white dress, and a man whose face I couldn’t see wrapped his arms around me. Warmth spread through my body. A baby cooed.

And someone’s voice penetrated. “Lexie, are you all right? Can you hear me?”

fence-454558_1280The mirror disappeared and I slowly recognized things around me: the chain-link fence behind the catcher, the sandy dirt beneath my hands, the single cloud dotting a pure blue sky, my teammates and coach surrounding me, and my best friend, Susan, kneeling at my side.

Her gaze softened. “Lexie, you’re awake!”

A ripple of relief went through the other girls.

Blinking, I touched my forehead, which felt wet. “What about the mirror?” My fingertips came away red and my eyes widened. “Why am I bleeding?”

That was a dream?

Our school nurse, Mrs. Bradbury, bustled through the group, motioning the girls backward. “Come on, let’s give Alexa some space.”

Susan squeezed my hand. “You got whacked by a softball.” She grimaced. “You were out cold for ten minutes.”

Ten minutes? I stared at her.

As I was informed and eventually came to mostly remember, we had been at softball practice. Our pitcher threw too high, and I was unprepared for the ball to hit me smack between my eyes. I was treated for a mild concussion and didn’t play softball for the rest of the season.

Yet my experience never faded.

That was my sophomore year of high school, and I didn’t understand the dream, or vision, or whatever you want to call it, until right before graduation, when I walked into a church and everything clicked.

The dream was my life, particularly the most traumatic experience of it: the murder of my mother when I was thirteen. The bizarre sequence of events was my brain’s way of processing what my emotions could not, even two years after the event. The orange room was the intensity of my initial pain; I suspect the sensations felt like balls because of the event that rendered me unconscious. The dual realities of the blackness brought to life the deepest part of my grief: suffocating but never dying. The release of exhaustion came after six months of hard grieving.

The mirrors blurred experience and what hadn’t yet happened, which is why I hesitate to call it a dream. Together, they represented my identity crisis throughout high school. I was studious for my teacher and a party girl for my friends. My Aunt Ruth, Dad’s sister, felt I was too emotional, and Dad was only happy when I thought about pursuing a Law degree. I lost sight of my real self until I entered that church and learned how God saw me.

I’ve been a teen grief counselor for twenty years now, and I often share my dream with deeply hurting kids. When they ask me what the white dress and the faceless man mean, I tell them that I take it in two ways. One, I am the bride of Christ, and only with that perspective can I see myself correctly. And, two, God was giving me hope for my future, which would include my husband, Jake, and our daughter, Clarissa. I tell these kids that, even though I didn’t realize it then, that experience showed me that my life mattered. It helped me realize that I wasn’t alone.

The strangest dream of my life taught me that God always has a plan.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Pictures and Principles: What I’ve Learned Through My New Camera

My life has been consumed this week by two things: 1) finishing my Beauty and the Beast retelling, and 2) my new camera. I’ve really missed having a digital camera, so I am extremely excited to have this one. I’ve played with its picture and video capabilities quite a bit since it arrived on Tuesday. As for my retelling, Through Time is finished, and I officially submitted it yesterday morning, prompting a pit to settle in my stomach immediately. I’ll probably worry about it a for a week, but then I should be able to forget about it. Winners will be announced on March 1, 2015. So, I have a while to wait.

In honor of all the fun I’ve had with my camera in the last few days, I decided to share some of my favorites from the pictures I’ve taken with it, along with some life principles I’ve discovered while looking through them.

Read the directions.


In some ways, life is meant to be lived with abandon, open-hearted and free. But that doesn’t mean it’s supposed to be lived stupidly. Reading the directions, whether they be for school, for a process at work, or for a new camera, gives you understanding that enables you to use it correctly. And God has given us an instruction for life: His Word. These directions will bring light to your path. (Psalm 119:105)

Look for sunshine.


It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the negatives of life. There are days that it feels impossible to stand. But God never leaves you alone. He spreads jewels of hope all around us; we just have to open our eyes and look beyond the clouds to the sunshine. This has definitely been an exercise for me in the past few weeks: finding things each day to be thankful for. And it’s remarkable how many things I discover when I just look with open eyes.

Enjoy God’s Creation.


I make no secret of the fact that winter is not my favorite season. I’m not fond of cold. But winter is still part of God’s Creation and it is beautiful. I’m always better for having let go of my dislikes and stepping out into the wonderful world God has made. Don’t let your aversion to some aspect of the outdoors keep you from discovering the many joys and lessons it holds.

Find the unique.


One of my favorite parts of photography is finding a unique way to take a picture, a special way of telling a story through the photograph. And sometimes, in searching for that unique angle, I discover another side to something ordinary that I never knew about. This is the ceiling fan in my room, and, to me, it looks like it’s going to take off and fly. Find your own unique experiences. They may just change your whole outlook on life.

Hear the music.


For me, this is literal. I play piano. I’m bad at practicing but always enjoy coming back to it. I also listen to music and sing almost constantly. My head is full of melody and lyrics. And there is something magical about music. But this doesn’t have to be literal. There’s music in a child’s laugh or a bird’s call or a fire’s crackle. Music is emotion and wonder and beauty; never get too busy to hear it.

Embrace the Stillness.


Because I listen to music so much, it’s sometimes difficult for me to quiet my mind. But it’s amazing how rejuvenating stillness is to your soul. God tells us to “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10) It’s in the quiet moments that we often get our deepest glimpses of God. A little over a week ago, Braden Russell posted about The Importance of Being Still on his blog, The Storymonger. It inspired me to embrace stillness, and I highly encourage you to check it out!

Ultimately, these things all come down to one point: Enjoy life. Don’t let it slip through your fingers because of carelessness or apathy or misplaced priorities. Life isn’t meant to pass by; it’s meant to be LIVED.

How do you live life to the fullest? What kind of pictures do you like to take/look at? Let me know in the comments!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Writing Update

First, a few helpful links from the past couple of weeks:

Cut the Clutter from Your Sentences - Go Teen Writers

How to Grow Your Blog Platform: Essentials for Your Success - The Writer's Alley

How to Write Science Fiction When You're Not into Science - One Year Adventure Novel

Second, some updates from my own writing:

  • I’m nearly finished with edits on my Beauty and the Beast retelling.
  • Said retelling also now has a title – Through Time.
  • I’ve cut approximately 5000 words from the manuscript in the last week – I have about 1000 more to cut before I reach admissible word count.
  • In the last week, I’ve only written 986 words, but that’s because my project is my retelling, which I’m actively cutting.
  • Lately, I’ve barely been scraping by on the Go Teen Writers’ 100 for 100 challenge, but I’m still in it. Are any of you doing it? If so, how’s it going?
  • I recently bought Take Ten for Writers by Bonnie Neubauer, and I’ve already written a 7752 word short story based on the first exercise. That was my most recent non-retelling writing. The prompts in this book are fantastic!
  • I’m considering starting a serial story on this blog, possibly about a dragon saving a princess from a prince. What do ya’ll think? Would you read it?

So, that’s what my writing looks like right now. I’m madly scrambling to get Through Time down to 20K words or fewer; my submission letter for the contest went out this morning. Once it’s submitted, I’ll probably mess around with some shorter pieces and, in general, relax before getting into edits for Raiders’ Rise. How’s all of your writing going? Did you do NaNoWriMo? Are you gearing up for editing or drafting right now? I’d love to hear about your projects in the comments below!

Friday, November 28, 2014


Courage has probably been my biggest stretching point this year. Courage and trusting the Lord. But, honestly, the two have coincided, for the most part. I’ve been learning to take steps that I’m a little scared to. And often along those steps I know God is saying “Trust Me.” There have been plenty of personal examples of courage for me this year – from small things like saying hi to someone to larger things like going to a job interview and following through on an amazing opportunity that’s a little bit terrifying. This has definitely been a year of learning to be courageous.

“Courage,” according to, is “the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty,danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery.” I personally find that definition to be a little off, but it is still mostly true.

  • Courage isn’t foolishness, running heedlessly off into danger – I think we often confuse courage with stupidity, and they are not the same thing at all. Courage isn’t choosing to to go running off into danger just because it’s scary. "Too many people consider themselves daring when they are only delirious." ~ Anonymous
  • Courage  isn’t ignorance, choosing not to gather facts and observe – Courage is choosing to understand a situation and go into it anyway because it’s important. “Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex... It takes a touch of genius - and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.” ~ E.F. Schumacher
  • Courage is standing up for what’s right – Sometimes the hardest things to do are the ones we know to be necessary. “Faced with what is right, to leave it undone shows a lack of courage.” ~ Confucius
  • Courage is not always popular – Courage often looks like the opposite of what everyone else is doing. But even in the moments when it’s hard, stand firm, because a majority opinion is rarely right. “The opposite for courage is not cowardice, it is conformity. Even a dead fish can go with the flow.” ~ Jim Hightower
  • Courage is biblical – “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” ~ Joshua 1:9; “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.” ~ 1 Corinthians 16:13

So, what about you? Where have you applied courage recently? Let me know in the comments; I’d love to hear from you!

Courage quote

Friday, November 21, 2014

Would Your Readers Cry if Your Hero Died?

When scanning Pinterest, I often come across posts that talk about crying when a character dies. So many of them take the tone that says other people find it strange. I’ve never once had someone say it’s odd that I cry at sad parts of a story, but apparently some people have. The thing that always crosses my mind when reading those pins, though, is that authors should be thrilled to have readers cry at asad-98450_640 character’s death.

Not that we’re sadists, of course. At least, I sure hope not. I don’t find pleasure in causing people pain. The part that makes me happy is that readers feel emotionally connected enough to my characters to cry. Not everyone cries, even when they are sad, but we’re striving for connection. And readers can connect regardless of whether they cry or not.

Nonetheless, crying is a universal sign of grief (or extreme joy in some cases). It is a clue that emotional investment is at play. There’s a story in those tears.

Story in tears

With that in mind, I want to hear your thoughts on what makes you connect to a character, especially a hero/heroine. But first, I’d like to lay out a couple of stereotypes to be wary of. 

The Hallmark Hero

I do enjoy Hallmark movies, and there are some beautiful, well-made ones out there. But the vast majority of the ones I’ve watched, recently at least, have perfect heroes and heroines. Somehow I still get emotional about the stories, but it’s not because of the characters. Don’t make perfect characters; it’s difficult to connect to someone who has no flaws.

The Arrogant Attitude

I say this one with a caution stamp all over it, but I think it is something to think about. Obviously, readers can care about an arrogant hero (Tony Stark, anyone?), but it’s usually because of some characteristic below the surface, not because of his/her arrogance. Pride is quite off-putting, and it is thus difficult to connect with a prideful character. Not impossible, of course, but if a main character is more arrogant than most, he’s going to need a redeeming quality somewhere that is more emotionally engaging.

So, what do ya’ll think? Do you cry at emotional parts while reading/watching movies? What tends to get you the most? What kind of heroes and heroines do you like to write? Let me know in the comments!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Add Another Dimension: Online Graphics

Today I’m ecstatic to share with you some tips on making graphics for Pinterest, other social media, or, especially, your blog. I’m sure you’ve heard the advice that says use pictures in your blog post. I’ve suggested this myself. There are multiple reasons for this, but one of them is to make your posts easier to share, especially on Pinterest. Well, many bloggers take that to another level by not only including pictures, but creating graphics specifically for a post. I do this relatively often, though not necessarily for every single post. So here are some thoughts on creating graphics for your blog. But first, a graphic. Hehe.

Graphic for Graphics blog post 5

It’s easy to go overboard when creating graphics. There’s so much you can do, and it can be really fun. But overboard is not going to help you. When creating graphics, remember one thing: SIMPLICITY IS BEST. So, with that overarching theme, let’s get into some details.


When you set out to make a graphic, think about it for a moment. What’s the point of this graphic? Is it to share to Pinterest as a standalone picture or quote? Is it to illustrate a blog post? To link to a blog post? Why you’re making this graphic is important in establishing how you’ll make it. Here are some examples of graphics I’ve made for each case that I’m happy with:

Standalone for Pinterest

Picture montage Shakespeare and Bilbo quote

Though they’re small, you get the gist. I made each of these specifically to pin a quote I wanted to put on Pinterest. You can find the actual pins here and here. The thing to remember with Pinterest is that it’s all online and visually driven. Complicated graphics are tiring to the eyes online, so when the whole point of the graphic is to be seen, you especially want to be simple. If the text of your pin is long, then you’ll want a background that is similar all the way through. You wouldn’t want a crazy mix of colors, because text is difficult to overlay legibly in that case. If your text is short, you have a little more flexibility. But make sure that the section you place the text on is simple.

Illustration for Blog

History Quote

 The text in this is a quote from the blog post it’s found in. I included it both for the purpose of giving the post a picture and for pinning. With blog illustrations, you want to keep in mind the same things as for pins. Since this is something people are supposed to see as they read through your post, make it readable. Don’t make the text too long, make the background uncluttered, and make the picture big enough to see.

For Sharing a Blog Post

Since I have a graphic for this post, I won’t include another example. It’s simple, has my blog’s name in the corner (that’s optional, but it probably helps with exposure), and has the title in large, legible text. You’re trying to catch someone’s attention in a good way so they’ll read the actual blog post. So, if something detracts from that purpose, get rid of it.


Okay, now that we’ve covered different purposes and looked at some examples, let’s get specific. To illustrate the different elements of making a graphic, I’m going to share some of the stages I went through in making this post’s graphic. First of all, there are plenty of places to make graphics for free. In the past, I’ve used Poster My Wall, which is a simple grab/upload-a-background-and-add-text kind of thing. You could also use Canva, which gives some options for more detailed work. But my personal favorite is good old Microsoft Publisher. You have more options there than you might expect, and by saving your work as a JPG, you’ve got a picture at your disposal.

Picture Montage graphics post

Usually I don’t go through this many rounds of work on my blog graphics, but this time my brain wanted to go a couple of different directions, so the results were all over the place. I created it entirely in Publisher.

  1. This was the original picture that I picked out for this graphic when I started the whole process. It looked neat and was the best vaguely-out-there picture I could find to capture the idea of dimensions. I decided on using “Agency FB” font early on in the process, and the color matched the picture without blending in and disappearing. I like to pick a simple color scheme for my graphics, usually only two colors, and I like drawing at least one of them out of the picture I’m using as a background. I messed with this version for a long time, but I finally decided that it didn’t have enough black space for the text. It kept running into the picture in a way that didn’t feel balanced to me.
  2. So, I started messing with cropping and adding black space, which led me to scrapping the original picture and going with a pure black background instead.  I added a striped border to the top and bottom and made it the same color as my text, which is still Agency FB. As for the arrows, I honestly don’t know why I added the one on the left to begin with. I must have been meaning to add a line of some sort, but I don’t think it was supposed to be that line. Still, I liked the effect, so I added another one. My blog name is usually one of the last things I add, so I obviously hadn’t finished that one completely. It bored me a bit, though, so I changed it again.
  3. At this stage, I went back to a picture. I love the colors in this one, and because they were totally different from my previous color scheme, I changed the font color to yellow. My blog address is also yellow, though somewhat darker because it’s on top of other colors. I didn’t like my previous font with this picture, so I changed it. I like this one because it has adequate blank space at the top, and the font color ties the text to the picture. I came really close to using this graphic, but then I was drawn back to the previous one.
  4. In an attempt to solve the boredom problem I previously had with this graphic, I added a crazy spiral. But then it was way too crowded. I had lost my simplicity principle, and I didn’t like the result at all.
  5. So, after removing the spiral, I messed around with the font. Number #5 is an example of my Agency FB, blue font with an outline effect. It looked super cool in Publisher, but, as you can see, it’s very difficult to see as a picture. Previewing your work is incredibly important. I added my blog address in purple down in the corner because I liked the contrast. Besides, I like using my blog colors (orange and purple) when I put my blog address on graphics. It adds a bit of continuity.
  6. When I really thought about the purple that I was using for my blog address, I realized I liked it a lot, so I decided to apply it to my title. Lo and behold, I had the contrast I needed. I was no longer bored by my graphic, which had previously been all the same color. Contrast is great for graphics, but it doesn’t have to be a drastic contrast.

So, why didn’t I go with #6? I only changed a couple of things. One was the effect on the font. That one is embossed, while I ended up putting no effect on the final product. I just preferred the crisper lines I got without embossing. I felt that it fit my topic and graphic better. The other change I made was very subtle. I wanted to make my blog name stand out just slightly more than it did. I felt I was losing it among the stripes. So, I added a rectangle over each of the borders, filled it with the same color as the stripes, and then made it mostly transparent. This softened the effect of the white stripes, allowing my blog address to not get lost.

Hopefully you got something helpful out all that. Here’s some summary, along with the thoughts that didn’t come out earlier:


  • Consider why you’re making this graphic and decide what you want it to accomplish before making it.


  • Keep your backgrounds simple. If you use a photo, make sure it has blank/similar space for text. But don’t be afraid to use colored backgrounds, either. I like using Publisher’s background tools for mixing colors.
  • Don’t use fancy text. Straightforward fonts are best – I use “Book Antiqua”, “Bookman Old Style”, “Bell MT”, and “Copperplate Gothic Light” most often. If you want to simulate handwriting, as I sometimes use with notebook/notepad backgrounds, I suggest fonts like “Monotype Corsiva” or “Papyrus.” Fonts with excessive loops will just be annoying on a screen, though.
  • Use a simple color scheme, with colors that both match and contrast, to some degree, your background. Don’t use colors that blend in too much or hurt the eyes.
  • Use elegant lines. If you want to stagger your text on different lines, go ahead, but make it match up somehow, maybe diagonally. I don’t suggest jumping all over the graphic, because that feels chaotic. Whatever you do, remember that those of us who use English as a first language read left to right.

So, what do you think? Did I use the right version of this post’s graphic? Ultimately, graphics are largely a personal preference. What you like may not be what someone else does, and what someone else likes may not fit your idea of what graphics should be. That’s okay. Create the image you want to represent yourself, and be happy with that. Just remember:

Simplicity is best.

Now, let me know in the comments: what do you like in graphics? Do you like creating graphics for your blog/Pinterest?

Friday, November 7, 2014

Don’t Kill the Writer: The Art of Critiquing

I got my first taste of giving and receiving feedback on stories when I started interacting on the One Year Adventure Novel online forum a few years ago. Before doing that amazing program, I had never finished a novel draft. And I had never received a critique of my work before, either. When I finally got the courage up to post my OYAN story on the critique board, that all changed. And it wasn’t all pretty. One of the first responses was pretty harsh, and reading it really hurt me. Finding out that the person who gave it was known to be somewhat grumpy and overly harsh helped, but the sting remained.

Authors can be a rather sensitive lot. I’m sensitive naturally, but that tends to go into hyperdrive in reference to my writing. And many, if not most, writers are similar. So hearing any criticism of our writing can be difficult. But without critiquers, beta-readers, or whatever else you want to call them, it’s difficult to make our stories the best they can be. We need feedback; we just prefer not to be sliced to the bone and left bleeding in the process.

The Art of Critiquing

On Wednesday, author Jill Williamson posted an excellent article on giving a critique over on Go Teen Writers. I promise that my article was planned weeks ago, though, so I’m not stealing her stuff, even though our advice will probably overlap. Anyway, back to the topic: as writers and readers, how do we go about giving and receiving helpful critiques?

Let’s start with some general thoughts about critiquing:

  • The term “critique” actually refers to negative feedback. If you look it up in the dictionary, you’d get the impression that giving a critique is just pointing out the flaws in someone’s writing. To me, that’s not an effective method, since it tends to make the writer defensive. So, keep in mind that, even though I often use the words “critique” or “critiquers”, I’m not referring to an all-out negative blitz.
  • Critiquing is not about you, whether you’re the author or the person giving feedback. It’s about the story – making it better.
  • That being said, critiquing involves people. And these people have valid thoughts and feelings. As an author, recognize that your critiquers may (and probably do) have good thoughts that you should at least give a chance, even if they hurt a bit. As a critiquer, remember that the author of the work you’re critiquing has poured his/her heart and soul into these words. Be aware of the effect you’re having when you slice into that story.

Now, from the perspective of an author with a work he’d like feedback on, there are plenty of things to think about:

  • Don’t ask for critiques from strangers – Some may disagree, but I don’t think it’s a good idea to get feedback from people you don’t know. If I don’t know and respect this person who’s poking holes in my beloved writing, I’m not going to take their advice very easily. If I see something negative, I’m immediately going to take it personally and ignore the rest of their thoughts, even though they may have very good points. Again, that could just be me, but writers are a pretty sensitive lot, so you’re probably a bit like that, too. Now, I’m not saying you should only ask for feedback from your best friend. They don’t have to know you that well, necessarily. Two of my best critiquers are people I’ve never met face-to-face. We met on the OYAN forum, and their thoughts have been invaluable to my writing.
  • Be clear about your expectations – Critiquing a project, especially a novel, for someone, can be an incredibly daunting project. If you’ve never critiqued before and you’re handed a document filled with thousands of words, I guarantee you’re going to have a moment of “What have I agreed to?” So, as a writer, don’t leave that person with no idea of what they’re supposed to do. If you know that there’s something specific you need from this person, say that. For example, one of my critiquers is a guy, and one of the biggest things I needed his help with in Raiders’ Rise was male characters. I wanted to make sure that the guys in my story were true to life, and I told him that. In the same way, if you have things you don’t want them to comment on, mention that. Otherwise, you may end up with comments you didn’t want (related to grammar, for example) and get angry at your critiquers for something that’s not their fault. Be careful with this, though; I personally like comprehensive critiques, so I don’t like limiting my critiquers’ comments.
  • Pick diverse critiquers – Everyone looks at a story differently. Thus, having more than one person give you feedback is helpful, anyway. But it’s also good to think about the perspective each of these people will have on your story. Someone who’s been writing for five years will notice way more “writing” stuff than someone who’s only been writing for a year. But, on the flip side, that newer writer may be able to stay out of “writer” mode more easily and just read your story, instead of thinking about how they would do it. Trust me, the more you know about writing, the harder it is to just read. I prefer to not have all writers read my story, or all readers. Personally, my critiquers look a lot like this: a writer whose ability I respect immensely and who I love as a person; a newer writer who reads mostly like a reader but who picks up certain writing things as well; my sister, who isn’t into writing; and a friend with a fascinating and somewhat unique perspective who has studied writing but doesn’t actively write. Thus, some of them will notice things like weak verbs and info-dumping, while others will have their attention turned to logic and believability; some will notice emotion and some will notice theme. All of these things are exceptionally helpful to me, and though some critiquers will give more than one naturally, diverse readers help cover all your bases. I also advise having both male and female critiquers, as each gender will have a unique perspective on your story.
  • Don’t get defensive – The only time I’ve ever dealt with writing criticism in person has been with my sister, and I have a very difficult time not getting defensive about her thoughts, even when I think they’re great. Thankfully, I usually read people’s thoughts on my stories via the Web, so I can calm my reaction before I respond. I value my critiquers’ thoughts, but I also take things incredibly personally. So, even things that are meant well can be difficult for me. I’ve gotten a lot better over the last year, but it’s still a struggle. If you’re like me, understand your tendency to be defensive and learn to curb it. If you’ve chosen your critiquers wisely, then you know they don’t mean their words harshly. Don’t get mad at them, and DO NOT lash out at them. If you react defensively, find some way to calm yourself, and then respond graciously. Anger does not help friendships or writing relationships. 

Courtesy of Pixabay

Now, moving on to advice for actual critiquing:

  • Be respectful of the author – If you’re providing a critique of someone’s work for them, yes, you are doing them a service. But that doesn’t mean you can just do whatever you want. If they ask you to specifically look for something, make sure you’re paying attention to that aspect. If they tell you not to comment on something, don’t comment on that aspect. In addition, if the author gives you a deadline of when they need your critiques back, make sure you follow through. Sure, life intervenes sometimes, but, if you can’t make that date, don’t agree to giving the critique. Authors have deadlines, especially if they’re under contract. But even those of us who haven’t been published often plan deadlines for ourselves. Respecting those as a critiquer is key to maintaining a good relationship between the two of you. Another way to respect the author is the way you make your notes. Maybe you need to work out a way between the two of you that will best work in getting your thoughts across, but think of that person when you’re choosing colors and methods. I much prefer colors that stand out from my manuscript to notes that blend in. Use a legible font; use good colors. The writer you’re helping will appreciate it.
  • Periodically make sure that you’re still being helpful – One of my critiquers is fantastic at this. Every few chapters or so that he sends back to me, he’ll check to see if he’s missing something that I need feedback on or if I need him to look for anything else in the story. As a critiquer, you are trying to help the author. So, check with them to see if you’re doing your job well.
  • Tell the things you like – Unless the writer specifically asks you to note only negative things, make sure you’re commenting on things they do well and parts that you enjoy. Even little things like “LOL” after a sentence can be helpful. The sandwich method that I learned on the OYAN forum and that Jill Williamson mentions in her article is a great template: for every negative thing you say, sandwich it with a positive note before and after. This works particularly well for chapter wrap-ups and overall thoughts. It may be easy to think that if there’s something you don’t mark, the writer should know it’s fine. But we need to see what readers like about our stories as well as the things they don’t like. Mark the parts where you feel the hero’s pain. Point out wordings that you like. Note the parts that make you laugh or cry. These are all incredibly helpful comments.
  • Gently point out things that need work – I will say that I have been blessed with kind critiquers, but some people are naturally more harsh than others, even if they don’t intend to be. When you’re critiquing, think about how you would feel receiving this advice. Could you say it more gently? But maybe you’re good at being nice: now what do you actually say? Don’t worry: it’s not rocket science. If it was, those of us with a preference for language arts would probably be in trouble. Often, the best perspective you can have as a critiquer is to look for things that don’t read smoothly. Did that section bore you? Tell them! Does that dialogue sound a little stilted? Would a sailor say what you just read him saying? Did she have red hair a moment ago and now it’s blonde? Did he learn a new skill a few chapters ago but now it’s foreign to him? Look for parts that don’t make sense, that seem out of character, that confuse you, that jerk you out of the story. These are the things we need to know about if we’re to make our stories better. Different writers will prefer different formats, but I personally like having notes directly in the text, followed by an overall impression/wrap-up at the end of the chapter/story.
  • Trust your instincts – Even if you’ve never critiqued something before, your opinions are still valid. Will you be perfect at it? Probably not. So, ask for help with form; ask the writer what they want you to focus on. Questions will bring answers, which will hopefully bring clarity to the process for you. But just because you’re inexperienced doesn’t mean that you can’t be helpful. You’ve read good books before; how does this story match up? If something sticks out to you, note that and tell why. It may be something the author is already aware of, but it may be something they totally missed, too. Don’t discount your ability to see things. Your opinions are invaluable.

Well, that got a little longer than I intended it to be, but critiquing is an important subject, in my opinion. It deserves to be expounded upon. I do want to make a quick note for those of you reading this who have critiqued/do critique for me: I wasn’t directing any of this at ya’ll. You are great helps!

For everyone else, how do you feel about giving and receiving critiques? What kind of feedback helps you? What kind hinders/hurts? Let me know in the comments!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Review of Orphan’s Song by Gillian Bronte Adams

Over the past month, I’ve had the pleasure of seeing a great deal of buzz for Gillian Bronte Adams’ Orphan's Song, the first book in her Songkeeper Chronicles, which just released. Why am I so happy? Because Gillian is an amazing blogger, and now published author, who definitely deserves the success! So, I’m excited to see her debut doing well. And now I have the chance to review it for all of you! I’ve decided to present my review in points instead of paragraphs, since I have a tendency to make my reviews exhaustingly wordy.


Part of my bookshelf with its newest arrival, Orphan’s Song

Here’s the description of Orphan’s Song from the site of its publisher, Enclave Publishing:

Who Will Keep the Song Alive?

Every generation has a Songkeeper – one chosen to keep the memory of the Song alive. And in every generation, there are those who seek to destroy the chosen one.

When Birdie’s song draws the attention of a dangerous Khelari soldier, she is kidnapped and thrust into a world of ancient secrets and betrayals. Rescued by her old friend, traveling peddler Amos McElhenny, Birdie flees the clutches of her enemies in pursuit of the truth behind the Song’s power.

Ky is a street-wise thief and a member of the Underground—a group of orphans banded together to survive . . . and to fight the Khelari. Haunted by a tragic raid, Ky joins Birdie and Amos in hopes of a new life beyond the reach of the soldiers. But the enemy is closing in, and when Amos’ shadowed past threatens to undo them all, Birdie is forced to face the destiny that awaits her as the Songkeeper of Leira.


  • This story follows a split plot for most of the book, following Birdie and Ky separately. They have very different paths, and I found myself more interested in Ky’s, though I liked Birdie as a character.
  • For me, the plot felt like it dragged until the third part, when the action really got rolling. I got much more interested at that point, and then it was too short!
  • Despite its slowness at times, the plot made sense and introduced a lot of important elements that will make Book 2 much more action-filled, I think.


  • Gillian does write engaging characters, which is a definite plus. I’m excited to see where their journeys lead.
  • Birdie is downtrodden but courageous. Desperate to escape her life of drudgery and accompanied for much of her life by a mysterious melody, she may get a bit more than she bargained for. I’m curious to see her role as the Songkeeper develop, since I felt that element of the story wasn’t explained. Birdie grows a lot through the course of the story, though at times that growth felt a little fast.
  • Ky is a thief who’s selfless when he’s not supposed to be, and his care for others is endearing. For an orphan who has looked out for himself for several years, though, I felt that he grew protective toward Birdie rather quickly. Nonetheless, Ky is my favorite character. He’s inventive, sweet, and courageous.
  • Amos, Birdie’s self-appointed protector, is crusty and rather infuriating at times. He’s lived as a peddler for several years, trying to escape a past that collides with him as he rescues Birdie from her kidnapper. He cares fiercely for his “lass”, as he calls her, but he’s downright hostile to her questions about the Song. Though hints about his past were dropped rather liberally, they came together well to influence the climax.
  • We get a glimpse into the minds of the enemy, the Khelari, briefly in a few places, and, honestly, I’m terrified of the ultimate villain, the Takhran. Gillian did a fantastic job showing the effects of the Khelari’s presence, even though they weren’t present constantly.


  • I felt like the themes of courage and Providence were the most clear in this story, and they create a strong background for characters’ growth.

Other Thoughts:

  • Gillian Adams has created an interesting world filled with an encroaching dark army, a griffin, and, most interestingly, a line of Songkeepers. The idea that melodies fill the land of Leira fascinates me, and I’m excited to see it developed.
  • There are definite elements of allegory in this this story. I’m curious to see where the author will take those, since I feel that allegories are too often predictable.
  • I would have liked to see more action in this story, though others may disagree with me, since there is quite a bit. I just didn’t feel very invested in the conflict until near the climax. It seemed like more set-up than a self-fulfilling story. However, it is the first of a series, and, if it does act as set-up, then the rest of the series should be fantastic.

In conclusion, Orphan’s Song is not the best book I’ve ever read. But neither is it bad. It is a well-written debut with enjoyable characters and a fascinating premise. I encourage you to read it, because I have a hunch that the rest of the series will be incredible. I look forward to what you have next, Gillian!

Have you read Orphan’s Song? If so, let me know what you thought!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Links and Such, Part 2: Writing-Related

Last week, I posted a few links that have interested me outside of the writing sphere. This week, I’m diving into things related to one of my biggest passions: writing. These are articles I’ve discovered that have positively impacted the way I look at writing. If you follow me on Twitter and/or Pinterest, you may have seen some of these before. But hopefully you’ll find something that helps you on your own writing journey!

Writing Links

You, the Genius – fostering your writing gift

Drafting Under Pressure, or, NaNoWriMo, Oh No! on YAvengers

A series on about creating fantasy maps

Off Center: When God Meets Marketing

Which E-Book Publishers Should a Hybrid Author Consider? by Chip MacGregor

How to Write an Awesome Logline for Your Novel

Word Count for Stories

Twitter For Writers: 7 Quick Tips

3 Easy Ways You've Never Thought of to Keep Track of Time in Your Novel

6 Tips for Writing a Knockout Fight Scene

Most Common Writing Mistakes: Repetitive Dialogue

Why Writerly Words Are Not Your Friend

Pondering the Prologue: Keep it or Kill it?

Apples and Antagonists – a post about making your antagonists distinctive

Five Traits to Help You Create Your Character's Personality

Hidden Emotions: How to Tell Readers What Characters Don't Want to Show

How to Write a Gut-Wrenching Tragic Scene - Thanks to One Surprising Detail!

7 Deadly Sins of Worldbuilding

Things to See, Worlds to Build...

Let me know in the comments which ones help/interest you the most!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Links and Such

Today I’d like to share some links with you of things that I’ve been enjoying around the web over the last couple of months. Next week, I’ll have writing links, but this week is my random week. Hehe. Enjoy!

When Destiny Comes Calling - a serial story by Gillian Bronte Adams

Contest Header


A Fantastic Contest Celebrating the Release of Orphan's Song by Gillian Bronte Adams



Why Courtship is Fundamentally Flawed – there are a couple of things I disagree with the author on here, but, overall, this article is quite thought-provoking. I’d love to hear your thoughts in this one, especially!

Emma Approved – a modern, mini-episode adaption of Jane Austen’s Emma; it may be a little difficult to get into at first, but it becomes absolutely fantastic

9 Incredible Photos of our Universe – Absolutely stunning!

Don't Call Me a Worship Leader – found on the official website of The City Harmonic, this article talks about worship being far more than just music. Note: Part of it is strangely in a darker-colored text, but, if you highlight that part, it’s easy to read.

Friday, October 10, 2014

“Trouble in the Dark”– My Flash Fiction Story

Here’s my entry! Caiti gave me the prompt “Those who look for trouble usually find it,” which I wasn’t supposed to use in the actual story. I was given a word limit of 1000 words, which I used all but 2 of (yeah, I got a little wordy). Thanks, Caiti, for my prompt!

And thank you to everyone who participated in this challenge! Check out the other stories!
Also, don’t forget to give comprehensive feedback to at least the person you received a prompt from and the person you gave a prompt to. Feedback is incredibly important for improving our writing. Feel free to comment on the other stories, as well. And, now, I present my story. Let me know what you think!

Trouble in the dark flash fiction

I never should have walked into the alley that night. It had all the classic signs of danger: deep shadows, grime aplenty, even a yowling cat. Too bad I never listened to my inner sense of warning. Besides, my brother was right behind me when I swerved between the two buildings near the wharf.

Turning, I froze. Where’d he go?

“Carson?” Somehow my whisper sounded like a shout against the dingy buildings.

Swallowing hard, I turned in a circle, calling quietly for him again. What was the point of 

having an older brother if he disappeared when you needed him?

And I needed him badly.

Out in the street, footsteps clomped closer. Blarney and his men were drawing closer. Shrinking into the shadows, I tried to control my breathing.

Where could he be?

This whole stupid thing was my fault. And now it looked like I would die alone in an alley, as befitted my recklessness.

But that didn’t mean I wanted to. Biting my lip, I flattened myself against the wall. A low voice rumbled near the entrance to the corridor. Marco, if I figured right. He was the only Italian in the group, though accents were hard to distinguish at such a low volume. Putting a hand over my mouth to block an unintentional squeal, I hugged myself.

“In here, Boss?” Jerry’s grating tone made me wince. “She’s just a little girl. She’d be too scared to go in there.”

“That little girl is far braver than she appears.”

Uh-oh. The big man himself. I should have listened to Carson when he told me to stay away from Blarney.

Stay calm, Tessa.

My cheeks ballooned as I fought to keep my breathing quiet.

“Get in there!” Blarney’s voice rose.

“But, Boss, it’s the Carvers…”

A chill swept through me. Blarney was bad enough. But the Carvers were the true rulers of the wharf. And they were ruthless. Still, Blarney’s men were terrified of them. The problem, of course, was that they scared me, too. I glanced farther down the alley.

“I ain’t goin’ in there, Boss. And if the girl’s as smart as you think, neither would she.”

If Marco refused, the rest of them would, too. I sucked in a little bit of air.

Someone grunted. “Fine. Watch the alley. The rest of you keep searching. I want her found now.”

Steps shuffled away down the street. Maybe I would live, after all. I glanced farther into the alley and my heart rate jumped. Blarney’s men could easily outwait me. Breathing out slowly, I peered toward the street. The shadow of a man extended into the alley.

When the shadow moved, I flattened myself tighter against the wall. Maybe the Carvers weren’t as bad as the stories. I stared at darkness. I’d never actually met a member of the Carver clan. Could I move quietly enough to escape Marco’s notice? I slid one foot over. He didn’t move. I took another step and disturbed a metal can. Wincing, I pulled back against the wall.

Swearing, the Italian glanced into the alley. Moonlight fell on his dark beard and made his right eye glint while his left remained in shadow.

God in Heaven, please help me.

After a moment, he pulled away, and I resumed my trip toward the end of Carver’s Alley. Shadows enveloped me and I pulled my coat close against a sudden chill. A cat dashed in front of me, making me jump. Glancing back, I took a deep breath. When a door squealed, I put fists up. Then someone covered my mouth and dragged me into a building.

The door shut, sealing out all light.

“Tessa, are you insane?”

“Carson?” His gloved hand muffled my words.

He pulled it away, breathing hard. “Why do you always dash into trouble like that?”

Heaving a huge sigh, I stepped back. “Where’d you go?”

A flame hissed to life, and then a red glow emerged in the corner. The lantern showed my brother’s face, more deeply lined than I’d ever seen it. Crates surrounded us and a revolver rested on a box across the room.

I swallowed hard. “Carson, why are you in here?”

His mouth jerked. “We need to get you home, little sister.”

“Don’t call me that!”

He rushed over, putting a finger against his lips. The blue of his eyes deepened. “Do you even realize what you’ve gotten yourself into? They’re still looking for you out there, and being loud could get us both killed.”

Looking down, I rubbed my arms. “Sorry.” But what was going on?

As he herded me toward a hallway, a thump sounded in the alley.

My chest seized. “Carson, what was that?”

Grabbing the revolver, he pushed me away. “Go into the hallway.”

I crouched by the wall. Then running came from farther in the building. I jerked my head up.

“Dillon needs help immediately!”

Who was Dillon? And why did it sound like people were headed this way?

A tall man skidded around the corner and halted. “Who are you?”

I swallowed hard. “Who are you?” My smile wouldn’t have convinced my mostly-blind grandmother.

He drew himself up even taller. “Janson Carver.”

Oh no.

Carson stepped out from the back room and squeezed his eyes shut briefly. “Janson, Blarney’s gang is headed down the alley.”

And here I thought they were too scared. My heart thudded in my chest.

Eyeing me, Janson nodded. “You’re the boss, Dillon.”

I swung toward him. “What?”

He put a hand up as Janson and several other men raced past us. Then he grasped my shoulders. “We are the Carvers.”

“What?!” I jerked away from him, shaking my head. “That doesn’t make any sense. The Carvers are a vicious wharf gang. You’re my brother. And why did he call you Dillon?”

He stared at the ceiling for a moment. Then, grimacing, he looked at me. “It’s a cover. The Carvers aren’t real.”

I raised my eyebrows. “Then what are they?”


“Earth”– Leanne’s Flash Fiction

It’s here! Today is the deadline for my second ever flash fiction challenge, and I’m excited to see what you all came up with! This post contains Leanne’s entry, since she doesn’t have her own blog. My own entry will follow shortly. I gave her the beginning sentence as a prompt and a limit of 800 words, plus the prompt. She finished with 637. So, without further ado, read on!

Earth flash fiction

My heart beat faster because I knew this was it.

The horizon line dipped and swayed. Brilliant blue openness curving into the green earth.

“Prepare yourself for the landing,” a small mechanical voice said into my ear. “Be aware that the local inhabitants may react bizarrely. Proceed with caution—”

I clicked the switch on my headset, shutting the voice up. My fingers were damp in my gloves. I gripped the stick, guiding my ship in a slow arc downwards.

The earth filled the view through the glass. The green un-blurred and become a patchwork of striped squares. Here and there small clusters of blocks, buildings.

The control panels started to beep. What in the moon...? A message flashed across the screens, blinking and red.

Entry denied.

I slammed several buttons but the message refused to leave.

Hostile ships spotted.

I glanced up through the glass, and jerked the stick backward so I’m hovering in the air.

Turn your headset on immediately.

I flicked the switch. “What?”

A burst of static. High pitched beeping and yelling in the background.

“Cherrie! Are you there?” said a voice.

“Yes.” I tried call up view on my headset, but it fuzzed out and didn’t work. “Who am I speaking with please?”

More static and jumbled words. I couldn’t make out any of it. I turned it off again. Earth’s atmosphere must be screwing things up.

Hostile ships spotted. Return to space immediately.

Only blue sky drifting lazily outside the glass. I flicked through the controls, calling up my radar. Three blinking red dots advanced on me at an extremely rapid pace.

There. I squinted, and can just make out them on the hazy horizon line. Three earth ships.

I leaned back and bit my lip. I had expected problems with the earth’s inhabitants, of course, but not before I landed.

My headset buzzed. I turned it on. “I’m returning,” I said, mobilizing ship.

No answer. Crackling silence.

“Hello?” Did I lose connection?

“Identify yourself immediately.” said a voice. A deep, different voice. Not anyone from the station. An earth voice.

I took a deep breath. “This is Cherrie. Who am I speaking with please?”

“Where do you come from and what are you doing here?” the voice said.

My screen goes black with a small pop. What in the blue moon? I pressed every dang button on the control panel but all that comes up is a small message.

Lost connection.

Wonderful. Just wonderful. I rested my head against the screen.

“Respond or we will open fire.”

I jerked upright. The ships were hovering nearby, but still a distance away.

“Firing in one...two...”

“Wait.” I almost screamed the words in the headset. “My ship is not responding. I’m not going to harm you. I need help.”

Dead air. I watched the ships carefully but they didn’t move or fire.

I wondered if I could make a crash landing. I slowly eased the stick back...nothing. Nothing at all.

“Where did you come from?” said another male voice, in the headset. “Why are you here?”

“I’m from earth. Originally.” The words tumbled off my tongue, smooth from practice, but my heart rate still sped up again. “I’m to see if it’s worth returning to yet.”

Cracks, and pops, and suddenly my whole ship sprang back to life. The screens lit up and another message flashes across.

Please land.

Clearly not from the station. Orders from earth.

The earth ships are gone. Nowhere. The sky is empty. The sun is melting into the horizon.

For a moment I pause. I could go back up, back to the station, back to safety. I flexed my fingers in my gloves and stared down at the earth.


With a soft groan, my ship makes a slow dive down. There’s no going back now.

My heart beats faster because I know this is it.

Earth. At last.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Lighting Up the World Despite my Humanness

God has called me to be a light to this world. But I get off
Courtesy of Pixabay
base when I think I have to somehow conjure up this light myself. God doesn't want me to create my own light, which could only ever be a pale imitation. He wants me to reflect His Light. I have to let go of myself and stop blocking Him.

God chooses to shine His Light through us, mere humans, and I'm amazed by that. He has unlimited power and commands the universe, yet He chooses to let us be a part of His work. And it's not because we're so good. No, we're weak; we constantly stumble. And He loves us so much that He picks us back up and gives us another chance. His mercy is overwhelming. And yet we think we have to do everything all by ourselves. 

Don't be afraid of your humanness. Someone once told me that all our cracks let God's Light shine through us. We are called to be a light in a dark world. Always remember that. But remember, too, that God's using you for something big, and He won't leave you to do it alone. 

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." - John 8:12

Friday, September 26, 2014

Flash Fiction Challenge # 2 Begins!

Quick note: For those of you who saw this earlier, this is the same post, with just a quick update.

Hey, everyone! What have ya’ll been up to? Comment below; I’d love to chat for a bit!

Today, I’m excited to begin my second flash fiction challenge. Though I would have liked to see more participation, I know we’re still going to have a blast! One question: If you chose not to participate in this challenge, could you let me know in the comments? I want to make this better and more accessible to people, and your input helps me do that. Thanks!

Without further ado:

I will give a challenge to Leanne, who was awesome and contacted me by email. Since she doesn’t have a blog, I’ll be posting her flash fiction here on my blog.

Leanne will give a challenge to Katie Grace over at A Writer's Faith. Leanne, just comment on Katie’s most recent post.

Katie Grace will give Caiti Marie over at Blossoms and Thorns a challenge. Katie, just comment on her most recent post. 

And Caiti Marie will give a challenge to me. Caiti, you may either comment on this post with your prompt or email me at rachelleoneilwriter (at) gmail (dot) com.

In your challenge, give a prompt and a word limit, which you may choose. But the limit you impose must be no more than 1000 words. You have until Friday, October 10 to write your flash fiction, and you will post it on that Friday. Give your prompt to your partner before you start on your own flash fiction. No profanity, graphic violence, or sexual situations. After the entries are posted on the tenth, go to the entries from the person who gave you a prompt and the person you gave a prompt to. Provide feedback for both of them, as well as anyone else that you'd like to. 

Have fun, girls! I look forward to seeing what you come up with!

Friday, September 19, 2014

“Misnamed”: A Dialogue Sketch

Very quickly, I’d like to remind you all that you can still sign up for my Flash Fiction Challenge, which can be found here. Flash fiction is an awesome way to stretch your writing muscles without taking up too much time, and I’d love to have you participate!

Anyway, without further ado, today I want to share with you a Misnamed A Dialogue Sketchshort little interaction I wrote between the characters “Me”, “Myself’”, and “I”. Each is considered to be a separate person in this dialogue. This was written mostly for my own amusement and isn’t perfect, but hopefully you’ll enjoy it!


Me: I say, what a capitol day this is!

I: Excuse me? I said no such thing!

Me: *disdainful glance* You’re excused.

Myself:  Hey, be nice!

Me: *raises an eyebrow* Who invited you, anyway?

Myself: *confused look* You wasn’t invited. *gestures* See, he’s not here. It’s just the three of us.

Me: *rolls eyes**tapping his head, whispers to I* I think he’s a few wires short, personally.

I: *disgusted look* Will you kindly stop giving my opinions in my stead? I think no such thing, and you have no right to say so.

Me: *dryly* You isn’t here, remember?

I: *sighs*

Myself: *hesitantly* Well, I – oh, pardon me, when I use “I”, I mean me, or, no, I mean myself -

Me: *rolls eyes*

Myself: I think it’s a good day, too.

I: *hides a smile* Indeed. Wipe that ridiculous scowl off your face, Me.

Me: *innocently* Me? I wasn’t doing anything.

I: *narrows eyes* Watch it…

Myself: *wide eyes* Don’t argue!

Me: *glances over* Worry about yourself.

Myself: Why would I worry about yourself? Have I met him?

Me: *growls* Why are you here?

Myself: *frowns* You isn’t – oh wait, look! *brightens* There’s You!

I: *turns* Look at that. Good morning, You.

You: *shuffles forward, looking disheveled as usual* What? Oh, hello, I, Me, Myself. *furrows brow, mutters* Oh, oh.

I: *exchanges glance with Me* Is something troubling you this morning?

You: *pinched face* Oh, always, always! *mournfully* I can’t take the stress anymore!

Myself: What stress?

You: Oh, this, that, me, you, I…I can’t take it! *shuffles away, muttering*

I: Poor soul. His name is used so often for someone else that he can’t keep things straight.

Myself: If only everyone would just use the right words.

Me: *chuckles darkly* Right. Even you, oh conscientious one, can’t keep the titles straight.

Myself: *glances nervously after You* Shh! Don’t make it worse.

Me: *sighs* If only I could find the solution…

I: *suspicious glance* And who is I in that sentence?

Me: Why you, of course.

Myself: *distressed* Guys!

Me: *laughs* Don’t stress out, Myself. Everyone knows that I’m the smart one in this group. *strolls off whistling*

Myself: *furrows brow* What?

I: *sighs* Come on. Get back here, Me! *runs after him*

Myself: And I thought my name was hard enough to keep straight!