Friday, February 19, 2016

My Month in Proverbs, Part 4

Before I get started with today’s post, I need to mention something about the flash fiction challenge that we just finished up. A very important part of that challenge is the feedback given to recipients, but I’ve been hearing that some of you haven’t given the feedback to your partners. I know that I, too, have been guilty; I haven’t gotten to my feedback yet (sorry, Jessi and Katie!). I haven’t forgotten about it, though. Please, if you haven’t gone to both of your partners’ stories and given them solid feedback, do so now. That’s what makes this challenge worthwhile.

This is the fourth post in my quick thoughts on Proverbs. You can read Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 to catch up.

Month in Proverbs Part 4

Proverbs 16:21 “The wise in heart are called discerning, and gracious words promote instruction.”

You can have the best thing to say, but, if you say it poorly, people won’t listen. And even pleasant-sounding words are no good with bad intentions. Giving criticism should never be about the pride of the giver; it should always be for the genuine benefit of the hearer. And take care with your words and tone; they can mean everything.

Proverbs 17:14 “Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam, so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out.”

Especially as Americans, we can get rather uptight about “our rights.” And while there are certainly times when something needs to be said, there are other times when peace is far more important than our perceived injustice. No one likes a quarrelsome person. Don’t go picking fights.

Proverbs 18:2 “Fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions.”

This whole chapter is a warning about the tongue. Fools run their mouths without any understanding, wanting to be the center of attention and to hear themselves speak. The wise, however, listen and understand before saying anything. They say what’s pertinent, and they don’t seek to dominate the conversation. I need much more wisdom in my speech.

Proverbs 19:2 “Desire without knowledge is not good – how much more will hasty feet miss the way!”

All the enthusiasm in the world directed along a stupid course is still stupidity. God has given us energy, zeal, excitement, passion, etc., but we must submit it to his purpose. Misplaced zeal is so easily destructive. However, passion directed along God’s path is immensely powerful.

Proverbs 20:3 “It is to one’s honor to avoid strife, but every fool is quick to quarrel.”

It’s easy to look for people’s faults. We all tend to do it naturally. But that doesn’t glorify God, and it drives a wedge into our interactions with others. We need to look at the world through God’s eyes, not rising to every provocation but rather blessing at every opportunity.

So, what do you think of these verses? Let me know in the comments!

Friday, February 5, 2016

Flash Fiction #4 Results

Can you believe it? Two weeks have passed, and many flash fiction stories have been written! Congratulations, everyone! In this post, I will link to all the stories you’ve written for this challenge. But wait, you’re not done! Now it’s time for the rest of the challenge: providing critiques. You are responsible for reading and giving constructive feedback for at least two stories: that written by the person who gave you your prompt and the one written by the person you gave a prompt to. Remember to be kind and offer advice that is genuinely helpful. I’ll post the links in the same order that your prompts were assigned, so find your story and then visit the stories directly above and below yours. Have fun! Also, at the bottom of this post, I’m excited to introduce a secondary challenge related to this one!

Flash Fiction #4 Results

There are a couple of stories that haven’t been posted yet, so for now I’ve put placeholders in the list. I’ll update it as the other stories are posted.

"A Stag in the Night" by Katie Grace

Flash Fiction by Faith P.

"Peace in the Rain" by Jesseca Dawn

Flash Fiction by s.m.b.

"Ready to Fly?" by Emmarayne Redding

"The Ocean of Sand" by Anna Jolene

"The Kid" by Faith Song


Flash Fiction by Rachael Steele

Flash Fiction by Evan White

"I was Within and Without" by Athelas Hale

"Black Letter" by Sarah

"Dragon's Girl" by Sierra Joanne

Flash Fiction by Jessi L. Roberts

"Heroism is Dead" by Me

So, about that secondary challenge I mentioned. I don’t know about those of you who have participated in these challenges before, but I often receive excellent feedback on my stories, points that could make them genuinely better. Yet I never do anything with them after the challenge is over.

I’m changing that this time.

This time, I’m going to take the feedback I receive and apply it. I’m going to take the time to edit my flash fiction. And in one month, I’m going to post the new version here on The Ink Loft. Word count gets thrown out the window; I’m focused on telling this story in the best way it can be told.

So, maybe I’m the only one who wants to do that. That’s completely fine. If anyone wants to jump on the editing bandwagon with me, though, that would be fun. Feel free to either tell me you’re going to do the one-month edit or just post it without saying anything at all. This is completely up to you. I just want to implement some editing practice for myself.

So, what do you think? Want to edit with me?

Heroism is Dead–A Flash Fiction Story

Hello, everyone! Today is the deadline for my fourth flash fiction challenge, and stories are going up all over the Internet. I received this prompt from Jessi L. Roberts: “I’m no hero.” I used it as inspiration for my piece, which ended up at 909 words. So, without further ado, I present my flash fiction:

Heroism is Dead Flash Fiction

Heroism was dead. She had decided that long ago. Yet, watching the boy dart among the market stalls, she felt a shiver along her arms. There was something about him…

No, he’s just a thief.

Shaking her head, Vana turned away. A light breeze ruffled her hood, pushing the soft material off her forehead. She jerked it back, trying to forget about the boy across the plaza.

Heroes don’t exist anymore.

Everyone knew that. Heroes had vanished with the dawn of Triton, long before Vana’s birth. Looking for them was pointless. The best one could hope for now was a life undisturbed by the ruling class. And few got that.

Vana intended to be one of those few, so wondering about heroes was out of the question. Her traitorous brain did it anyway.

What might it be like if a hero rose up? Would anything change? Would life be better? Impossible to know. Dangerous to consider.

Vana glanced across the plaza, shielding her eyes against the constant veil of dust. The market stalls seemed shaky, their frames leaning more every day. Their owners were barely visible, huddled against the backs of their stalls. What drudgery it must be to stand here day after day, blinking dust away, getting a few customers an hour.

Shuddering, Vana pulled her cloak more tightly around herself. Today she was thankful not to have been born in the merchant class. Being a landowner’s daugher was much better.

She tasted dust under her tongue, gritty like the unpleasant introspection. What was going on with her? This was ridiculous. Jerky and potatoes. Then she could go home.

A spiraling cloud of dust caught her gaze, beyond the market limits. Her steps faltered.


Her stomach tightened. Running for home was pointless, as she’d never make it in time. Eying the quickly approaching cloud, she sucked in a breath and ducked into the shadows of the nearest booth.

The hover pushed a wave of dust into town, prompting Vana to pull her scarf up. How could she have been so stupid? She’d let herself be distracted by entirely too many deep thoughts. And now the moon had joined the sinking sun in the sky.

The hover’s repulsors cut out, gently lowering it to the ground. The door lifted.

Vana stopped breathing. Of course. Of course. She had forgotten about collection day, and now, instead of the normal official, Kyn stepped out of the vehicle.

Not him.

A cold feeling slithered through her stomach, but she remained motionless. Maybe he wouldn’t see her.

As Kyn’s boots touched the ground, his blue eyes brightened. “Come on now. You know very well that today’s the day. Where’s Triton’s money?” His gaze slid around the square.

Vana inwardly cursed the merchants, scrambling to gather Triton’s share, half their earnings. They knew Kyn’s gaze wandered when he had to wait; he was notorious for taking young women from the square.

Everyone else knew it, too. As Vana scanned the faces of the few people present, she saw tight lips and wide eyes. And there…the boy from a few minutes before. He was older than she’d thought, lanky with a healthy scruff across his jaw. He watched Kyn intently. That same curious feeling stole over Vana, leaving a shiver in its wake.

Coins clattered, drawing her attention back to Kyn. He was staring at her.

Inhaling sharply, Vana fought the urge to drop her gaze. Weakness attracted him. But apparently, so did defiance. He crooked his hand and her world began to spin. Act ignorant or not?

She didn’t get to make her decision as he said, “Come here.” His voice was silky, his eyes sharp.

Vana clenched her jaw and strode forward. For a moment, her gaze darted to the young man’s place. He had disappeared.

Heroism is dead.

She knew that. Yet her shoulders dropped. Stupid hope.

Kyn’s gaze pinned her as she walked up. One of the merchants rushed over, collection box in hand. But it wasn’t enough of a distraction; she could see it in Kyn’s eyes.

He merely flicked his fingers at the merchant. “Put it in the hover.”

Vana swallowed hard.

Kyn looked her over. “How would you like to come to Mardais?”

Why did he phrase it as a question? She bowed her head. “I am happy here, m’lord.”

“Happy?” His voice dripped disbelief.

“That’s what I heard.” A different male voice soared across the square, and Vana whipped her head around.

The stranger.

Kyn gave a half-laugh. “What is this, Defy the Government Day?”

The young man touched the sword at his side. Just a brush of his fingertips, really, but his gaze was hard.

Kyn frowned.

Just as he took a step forward, though, the merchant jumped toward them. “The money is secure, m’lord. Triton will be pleased.”

Vana’s eyes widened. The  merchant’s hands shook. And, for a moment, all was silent. Then Kyn stepped back.

He surveyed the area before leaning over the merchant. “Hope that he is.” One last gaze flicked over Vana.

When the hover left, her legs collapsed. A shadow fell over her.

Looking up, she saw the young man. Her throat constricted. “Thank you.”

He nodded briefly. “He’ll take you next time, you know.”

“Yes. He’ll probably kill you.”

He tilted his head. “That’s what a hiding place is for. You’re going to need one, too.”

Her brow furrowed.

Grinning, he offered her a hand. “Want to be a hero?”

Keep a look out tonight for the complete list of everyone’s flash fiction pieces!