Friday, July 6, 2012

Writing Prompt: Song Lyrics

I'm posting writing prompts once a week to help those with writer's block or those searching for new ideas. This week, we explore the musical realm.

This is a prompt that I've used before. Death Cab for Cutie's "Song for Kelly Huckaby" was the inspiration for my short story, Song for Megan Leclare, featured in Beyond Home. These lyrics inspired the short story about a young woman reminiscing about a road trip she took with an old boyfriend:

"Photographs of the best time you had, 
windows smugded by the speed.
Leaving home with our bags from Iron Street,
as morning turned into California,
And smoke trailed from the butt of my cigarette."
~Death Cab for Cutie, 'Song for Kelly Huckaby'

I've posted six more song lyrics below (a few of them from lesser known artists from the Pacific Northwest area!) and I think some of them could spur on some really awesome stories. Let me know if you come up with anything!

“I don’t need a bullet
‘cause I don’t have a gun.
I don’t need a gun
‘cause I’ve got too much love.
And I have got enough love
to save the world.
I have got enough hate
to start a war.”

~Tonya Gilmore, ‘Gun’


“I’ve started a new beginning
suspiciously like the old one.”

~Typhoon, ‘Starting Over (Bad Habits)’


“I’ve got my finger on the trigger,
but somehow you’re still alive.”
~Ezza Rose, ‘Trigger’
“‘Cause you and me have stood the test of time
and proved that we will make it out all right.”

~The Wedding, ‘Revelation’


“I want to change the world.
Instead I sleep.
I want to believe in more than you and me,
but all that I know is I'm breathing.
All I can do is keep breathing.”

~Ingrid Michaelson, ‘Keep Breathing’


“And I know it's easy to say,
but it's harder to feel this way.
And I miss you more than I should,
but I thought I could,
can't get my mind off of you.”

~Joshua Radin, ‘The Fear You Won’t Fall’


“Daddy's ghost behind you.
Sleeping dog beside you.
You're a poem of mystery.
You're the prayer inside me.”

~Iron & Wine, ‘Faded From the Winter’

Oh, and look up these artists if you haven't listened to them before. They're all awesome! Keep writing!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

How My Characters Celebrate Their Independence

How do my characters celebrate their independence on this holiday?

Well. . .in The Protectors series, there isn't a 4th of July since it's not set in America. Or on Earth. But there is Victory Day and it's pretty much the same thing.


From Promising Light: 

Victory Day was Grace’s favorite time of the year. The celebrations spread through the country of Haltar, and its capital Renaul filled with people. The city square was bustling with activity. Grace had to hold onto Jocelyn’s elbow as they weaved through the crowds.

Entertainers stood on every street corner, competing for attention. One man was juggling dozens of oranges, another was doing magic tricks, and a trio of children, probably siblings, were singing the customary songs of the holiday. The smells of exotic food hung in the air. Merchants yelled out, hawking their mirrors, dresses, weapons, fabrics, and more.

Beggars with dirt on their noses, their clothes only rags, moved from person to person as they searched for change. When Grace stopped to give them money, her friend Jocelyn rolled her eyes. She grabbed Grace’s hand and pulled her along. “You’re going to empty your purse if you’re not careful.”

Grace smiled at Jocelyn, squeezing her hand. She wanted to tell her all about what had happened between her and Dar, but she feared her friend wouldn’t understand. She’d be offended Grace didn’t tell her in the first place, of course, since they’d shared nearly everything with each other since they were four years old. Plus it would be hard to admit he’d left her so easily.

She also didn’t want to bring it all up again. It’d been two weeks, and this was her first real chance to distract herself from Dar’s departure. 


From Fire and Light: 

The fireworks lit up the sky, and the sparks showered down, lighting up the faces around him. Evan leaned towards Sierra and whispered, “Hey, do you want to see these from a better view?”

She looked at him with keen eyes. “Sure.”

He grabbed her hand and pulled her to her feet. “We’ll be right back,” he told his dad. He led her out of the crowd, her hand warm in his. He loved the little moments he could have with her like this. He was glad she’d decided to stay with them tonight instead of going back to the castle with Dar and his parents.

He took her to a small hill by the festival grounds, which was where they were setting the fireworks off. They had to sneak around a caravan of gypsies before they hiked up the hill. From the top, the fireworks seemed so much larger. Their vibrant colors filled the black sky. He sat down on the grass and patted the spot next to him for Sierra.

Grinning, she sat down. “This is great!”

He lay down, which made it seem like there was nothing in the world but the fireworks. He couldn’t see the festival grounds or anyone around him. Just the starry sky ignited with sparks and shapes.

She lay next to him, her shoulder pressing against his.

“So, how was your first Victory Day?” he asked.

“It was really fun. I had so much to eat, and Alastor bought me a new scarf. Oh, and the fire dancers were so amazing. Did you have fun?”

“I did.” He’d worked most of the day, but when his parents gave him breaks from the booth, he walked around with the others. He felt the necklace in his pocket. “I got you something.”


I love the 4th of July and as you can see, my love for the holiday has leaked through to Victory Day in The Protectors series! Have fun, everyone, and be safe :)

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Writing Prompt: Music

This blog features writing prompts twice a week for those stuck, those with writer's block, or those searching for new and creative ideas.

For this Tuesday's writing prompt, we're exploring music. I've chosen some instrumentals and embedded the video below. Push play and free write. Let the music carry the story and set the mood. Don't stop to edit or erase until the song is done.

Ljósið (previously known as Let Yourself Feel) from Esteban Diácono on Vimeo.
(the song is by Olafur Arnalds)

(La Dispute by Yann Tiersen)

(Dream is Collapsing by Hans Zimmer)

(Célébration à une Nouvelle Vie by Chaz Knapp)

(Exodus by Two Steps From Hell)

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Dialogue Exercise

This is another exercise from my fiction workshop class. The assignment was to start a story with dialogue, but it ended up being kind of self-contained.



“What on earth happened to you?”

“Nothing, Mom, I’m fine—”

“Bullshit. Whose blood is that?”

“Not mine.”

“That doesn’t answer my question. Here, let me do that.”


“You have to stop getting in fights, Alex. We’re going to get evicted.”

“It’s not me, it’s them—ow!”

“Oh, come on, it’s just a cut lip.”

“Shit, Mom.”

“Put this on your cheek. Tell me what happened this time.”



“Just people being dicks.”



“Your hair’s getting so long.”

“I guess.”

“You’re looking more like your dad every day.”


“Where are you going?”


“You’re actually doing it today?”

“Gotta balance the universe out or something, right?”

“I thought you didn’t believe that.”

“I do, but you know what, I was in the right. They started it. They always do.”

“Then why do you feel like you need to do your homework to balance it out?”

“Shit, I don’t know, because you’re pissed?”

“I’m not pissed, I’m just—”

“Disappointed, I know. I’m not living up to my potential, I know. You sound like those teachers in Grandma’s movies.”

“I’m not disappointed in you. I just don’t want you to end up like your dad.”

“I don’t even know him! God, you make problems out of nothing—”

“How can you say this is nothing? This is the third fight this month, Alex, and I’m worried about you.”

“I’m fine. They were calling you—forget it.”

“What? They were calling me what?”

“They were just being dicks, okay?”


“I’m going to go do my homework.”

“Okay. I love you.”

“Yeah, you, too.”