Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Olympic Facts

In honor of the 2012 London Olympics, I'd like to reserve this post for some Olympic facts.

  1. The 1900 Paris Olympics was highly under-promoted, causing many of the athletes to be unaware of their participation in the Olympics.
  2. The official languages of the Olympics are English and French.
  3. The original headquarters for the International Olympic Committee was located in Paris.
  4. The medals given out at the 1900 Olympics were rectangular.
  5. The first modern Olympics took place in Athens, Greece in 1896.
  6. The Olympics was also held in London in 1908.
  7. The new headquarters for the I.O.C. is in Lausanne, Switzerland.
  8. The first Olympic champion was from the U.S.
  9. The U.S. has been awarded over 2,000 medals all-time.
  10. The 1960 Olympic marathon was won by an Ethiopian man named Abebe Bikila who ran the race bare-foot.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Fifteen - First Incantation

I'm sorry about the brevity, folks.  I had to scramble to get something written before leaving for a recreational trip.  Here it is, part three of Fifteen.

            Amelia pulled out the chair before her and sat hard.  She was pale as marble.
            “That’s tough,” Mr. Wood stated.  He received a snarl in return.
            “How long do I have?” Amelia asked.
            “I am not the brightest historian, but to my knowledge, most Golds live to adulthood.”
            Amelia regained a little color.  “Three years…”
            Mr. Wood, after a long pause, coughed loudly and said, “We really must finish that lesson.  Continue reading, miss.”
            The change in her title made Amelia blink.  She cleared her throat and began, “A mage from any of the Five can perform basic conjuring with the Strength.  The first, and simplest, conjuration creates smoke.  To perform the conjuration, mages must focus on its incantation, whether mentally or physically, and speak its name.”
            The bottom of the page was filled with ancient-looking words and odd symbols.  One appeared to be a fox etched over a crescent moon.  Another was a blazing hearth.  A wheel of triangles came last.
            Amelia took a deep breath and stared at the incantation.  She took careful notice of every detail.  “Smoke,” she said.
            The air turned thick and the room black.  Mr. Wood shouted, sputtering, “Call off your conjuration.”
            “How?” Amelia returned.
            “Do the same as you did before, only call to cease.”
            Amelia’s mind raced.  Hoping her memory of the incantation served her, she choked out her command.  The smoke cleared as if driven off by the wind.
            “That went overly well,” Mr. Wood muttered.

Friday, July 27, 2012


Scivener is a software that can be helpful to writers.  It includes features such as a corkboard for notes that accompany your manuscript.  You can find a lot more information here.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Flash Fiction

Patience is a virtue.  It's tough to hold a reader's attention for a long period of time if you aren't a highly experienced author.  Flash fiction pieces help to solve this problem.
The reader's attention needs only to be held for a few minutes for flash fiction.  It also takes less time and attention on the writer's part, usually about an hour's worth in my experience.

Another great thing about flash fiction is that it can be used to experiment.  I had never written anything in the horror genre before I decided to write some horror flash fiction.  I still don't think that I'm ready to write a horror piece beyond a thousand words or two, but I'm more confident with writing it now that I have some experience.  Flash fiction has helped me branch out to many other genres that I had never written before.

Give flash fiction a chance, from both a reader's and a writer's viewpoint.  You can test out a different genre, play with a cool magic system that's stuck in your head, or simply have fun writing whatever pops into your head.  Reading flash fiction can be equally enjoyable, and even if you despise the piece that you are reading you won't waste a whole lot of time surging to the end.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


I'm in sort of a "doing anything of real value" sort of slump.  It isn't that I don't like checking my Facebook and email every ten minutes, it just doesn't do me much good.  I haven't read a whole lot the last few days and as far as I can remember all that I've written in the last week has been a micro-fiction piece for a small contest and this week's flash fiction.  Luckily, at around five I have soccer practice and America's Got Talent is on after that, so I shan't be entirely bored come that time.

I will soon have my own room (I share one with my brother currently) and in that room will be a desk.  Let me rephrase that; and in that room will be a magic, efficiency-building desk.  I've wanted to work on a real desk for a while now, as right now I'm typing at the dinner table and it's highly cluttered and chaotic.  The desk will also allow me to read in a fairly quiet, comfortable environment.  I should be moved in by the first of next month (yay!).  Here's to actually getting stuff done.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Fifteen - Gold

As you can see, I made a few large changes to the blog.  I made the header myself on Microsoft Word and switched the main text font to something a little more "normal".  I hope you like the changes.  Anyway, without further adieu, the second part of my new serial, Fifteen.

            Amelia merely stared at the staff-man.  “How?”
            “A spell, child,” he replied.  “A relative of yours, Editha Mage, conjured me.  As she has passed, I am bound to you now.”
            “Did she give you a name?”
            The man frowned.  “My conjurer called me Master Wood, if she called me anything at all.  She was quite a sarcastic lady.”
            Amelia smiled.  “Don’t I need a staff,” she said, and then paused.  “In the usual form, I mean. In order to use the Strength?”
            “Staves are about as useful as river stones.  No, you do not need one.  Words from that book shall suffice.”  He pointed toward the desk in the opposite corner.
            Amelia strode over to the right side of the room, noting on the way that her mother had closed the door and departed.  She placed a finger under the cover of the tome and heaved it over, revealing the first page.  A wheel of triangles, the symbol of the Strength, occupied each corner with the words “Book of Strength” written in an elegant hand in the center.
            “Turn to page seventy-three to begin your first lesson.”
            Amelia flipped through the spell-book, subsequent flips revealing symbols and words in many unique hands.  The most faded script was enthralled by a swirly sketch of smoke.  It was the page she was searching for.
            “Read it aloud, child.”
            “One of the most basic uses of the Strength is the production of fire.  A mage’s affinity with fire is first shown by the Revelation ceremony on their fifteenth birthday.  The Strength-fueled sparks both reveal the ability to wield the Strength and distinguish the several groups of mages.”
            Master Wood cut in, “what color was the first spark of your Revelation?”
            After thinking for a moment, Amelia replied, “gold.”
            Her teacher’s eyes sprung wide.  “The rarest and most powerful,” he muttered.  “Continue.”
            “Red mages are the strongest with fire and the shedding of blood.  The blue are wise and water-bound.  Purple is the most balanced group.  Green mages are one with nature and tranquility.  The gold…”  She trailed.
            “Finish the sentence, child.”
            She nodded fervently and cleared her throat before continuing.  “Come only once every three centuries, destined to die preserving the Strength.”

Friday, July 20, 2012

Dejan Voo

Despite the odd title, Dejan Voo is very cool.  Coming from the same artist as Devan's Devas (Douglas Loeffler), Dejan Voo blends humor and satire in a web-comic format.  The central character both clever and visually original.  Updated on Saturdays, Dejan Voo is a worthy read for anyone allured by wit.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Word Wars

On your mark, get set, write!  No, this isn't a foot-race, it's much better...a word war.
Urban Dictionary defines a word war as "An occurrence in which two or more writers set a time limit, such as ten minutes, or thirty minutes, to write or type as fast as they can on a specific topic or to add onto their current novel. The person with the highest word count at the end of the time limit wins the word war."  That's a pretty good definition.  Word wars help writers meet deadlines such as that imposed by NaNoWriMo or push past tough parts of their novels.

I could use a word war.  I've never actually participated in one, and I'm yet again (it happens quite a bit) in a writing slump.  A challenge, anyone?