The Devil's Drinking Hole

The Horrors of Writing

By September 4, 2016 Articles
writing

There are so many people out there who want to be a full time writer. And it is possible to do so. But there are something you should know if that is what you want to do.

First, you have to battle with time. Many people don’t realize how much time it takes to put down thoughts onto paper. There isn’t some magic wand that breaks through writers block. And every writer will experience it at one time or another. I seem to be living in perpetual writers block.

Sure, I have ideas that I quickly jot down and think that they will go somewhere, but they don’t ever get fleshed out. This will happen to every writer out there. All you can do is suck it up and keep writing. One story or another will grind its way into your mind and will stick around. That is the one you will write. But the timing won’t be ideal. You may find that your inspiration hits at a funeral or work. And by the time you get to your computer the day is gone.

The best way to get through it is to jot down ideas as they come to you. Maybe it is a scene, or a bit of dialog, whatever it is write it down so you don’t forget it. Then maybe with all these little pieces of the puzzle coming together you will finally have an outline.

Next you will have to deal with the blank page. There is no way to get through this dread than by plowing through it. When you first begin writing and you are wondering how to start everything off, just write. There is a reason why they say that a novel is created through the rewrites. Your first draft should be everything you have thought of all spewed out in gory detail. Even if it doesn’t fit with the theme of your story. Even if the dialog is bad and full of cliches get it all out as quickly as possible. Then after you finally type “The End” sit back and enjoy your accomplishment. Because the first stage is over and its time to really get to work.

Re-writing is a bitch. There is no other way to describe it than that. You have just spend loads of time on your first draft. You have gone through the critical nature of it not being good enough. You have cried over the pages that don’t make any sense and you have fought tooth and nail just to get it done. Well, it’s not over yet. Now you have to go through with your bad self and re-write that damn thing.

The first stage of re-writing is to keep everything you can. But if the pages don’t move the story forward or give insight as to who your characters are, throw it out. I know it sucks. That masterpiece theater you sweated over does add depth it adds boredom. And people in this day and age have a limited attention span as it is. Don’t bog down your writing with these long pieces. Instead find a way to re-write it so its enticing and exciting. The moment you lose the reader is the moment they put your book down and never pick it back up.

There is no limit on how many re-writes you will have to do. Every writer knows that even if they think it is done, its not. Writing a book becomes a monster that just won’t die and at some point you will have to say enough is enough and let it go. As long as you keep doing it and don’t give up, you will accomplish what you started. Just keep in mind that your first book won’t be a best seller nor will your second or third. But with each word you put down on paper, you are honing your skills as a writer and discovering your voice.

You Might Also Like

Magic Mirror

By August 15, 2016 Flash Fiction
mirror

Sarah stood before a large dressing mirror and pondered over the text scratched into the wood by dulled fingernails. She gazed at the seven distorted versions of herself taking the time to reflect on each of the shards still clinging to the wood for dear life. She studied the mirror trying to decipher the text before giving up entirely.

 

“Whatcha doing in here?” her grandmother asked coming up the stairs as she balanced a tray in one hand and a basket in the other. Sarah jumped back startled by her grandmother.

 

“I was just looking,” Sarah said as her fingers grazed over the dents in the wood.

 

“Sarah, please, do as you are told and step away from the mirror. I don’t want you to hurt yourself.”

 

Reluctantly Sarah did as she was told and stepped back from the mirror. As she glanced over to her grandmother, she noticed her grandmother sigh with relief. There was a fear in her grandmother’s eyes, a terror the old woman hid.

 

“Grandmother, where did you get it?”

 

“It doesn’t matter where I got it, my dear, what is important is that it is kept safe and hidden.”

 

“Hidden from who?”

 

“No more questions, come downstairs now and I will make you some lunch,” the grandmother said setting down the tray and basket. Sarah glanced over her shoulder as more questions popped into her mind. She turned to her grandmother and smiled dearly to her before obeying and went down the stairs.

 

The grandmother paused briefly taking a moment to herself and straightening her apron. The grandmother glanced at the mirror for a split second before pushing the tray and the basket closer to the mirror.

 

“You can’t have her,” the grandmother whispered. “She belongs to me now.”

 

The grandmother turned and quickly headed back down the stairs to greet her bewildered granddaughter.

 

“What was in the basket?” Sarah asked as her grandmother quickly walked by without saying another word.

 

“That is not your concern,” the grandmother’s voice was strained and harsh. Sarah stole a glance at the stairs before she noticed her grandmother standing beside her.

 

“I don’t want you going up there again, do you understand?”

 

“No, I don’t understand. What is up there besides old junk?”

 

“I don’t want you around that mirror,” her grandmother shouted. Sarah raised her hands up in surrender.

 

“What’s gotten into you?” Sarah asked stepping away from the stairs and her grandmother.

 

“Nothing,” the grandmother snapped.

 

“No, something has twisted your knobs, what is it?” Sarah stepped away even further until she backed herself into the kitchen table.

 

“Sit down, there is something you need to know, and I can see that if you don’t get your answers, you will learn the hard way.” The grandmother sighed deeply as she wiped her hands on her apron masking the sweat and her fear.

 

Sarah took her seat and watched her grandmother sit down across from her. Sarah’s grandmother shifted in her seat gathering her thoughts for what seemed like forever before she finally spoke.

 

“There is magic in this world, dark and powerful magic that can’t be controlled. That is what is inside the mirror and that is why you must be very careful around it.”

 

“Are you telling me you are a witch?” Sarah sat back in her chair as her heart began to drum in her chest. Her grandmother nodded, still refusing to look at her.

 

“I swore to your mother that you would never know magic. But you are curious, and you needed to know the truth.”

 

“So, what does that have to do with the mirror?”

 

“Do you remember what happened to your mother?”

 

“She went crazy.”

 

“She was tempted by the dark magic and was seduced by it. She grew powerful and uncontrollable.”

 

“Wait, are you telling me, my mother is trapped in the mirror?”

 

“You are clever aren’t you?” the grandmother said finally looking at Sarah. “I had no other choice.”

 

“That’s why the mirror is broken, isn’t it? So she can’t get out.”

 

“I am not proud of what I have done. But there was no other way.” Sarah’s grandmother stared at her with a fire in her eyes. Sarah saw for the first time that what she had always mistaken for rage, was, in fact, her grandmother’s magic.

 

“Do I have magic too?”

 

“Of course, you do, you come from a long line of witches.”

 

“Will you teach me?”

 

“No, absolutely not,” the grandmother said with a stern voice as she leaned back in her chair. “I am sorry, but I can’t take the risk. After what happened to your mother, I can’t, I’m sorry.”

 

Sarah glanced at the stairway wondering what other wonders lay hidden in the trunks and cobwebs.

 

“What was in the basket you brought upstairs?” Sarah asked as she turned her attention back to her grandmother.

 

“Food.”

 

“For who? My mother?” Sarah’s grandmother laughed shaking her head as the laughter filled the small kitchen.

 

“No, that is absurd. Your mother is in the mirror.”

 

“Then who is the food for?”

 

“Do you want to see?” There was a sparkle in the grandmother’s eyes as she leaned forward closure to Sarah.

 

“Yes,” Sarah smiled as her heart drummed with excitement.

 

“Come on then,” The grandmother stood and extended a hand to Sarah. “We must be soundless, though, and I don’t know if they will come out. But they are timid little things and sound often spooks them.”

 

Sarah took her grandmother’s hand as she led her up the stairs and back into the attack. Sarah’s grandmother paused on the last step.

 

“Look,” the grandmother whispered and pointed. Sarah snuck up behind her grandmother and glanced over her shoulder. Sarah’s eyes grew wide with wonder as she watched the tiny sparkles of light flicker around the basket.

 

“What are they?”

 

“Sprites.”

 

“Are they like fairies?”

 

“Oh, no, fairies are vicious and destructive. Sprites are much more helpful and kinder as long as you feed them well.”

 

“Why are they here?”

 

“Every witch has them in their homes. Think of them as helpers. They keep the garden growing, and the fires lit. They are the reason the place looks so tidy,” the grandmother chuckled darkly glancing at the floating lights before adding, “Do you think an old woman such as myself couldn’t keep this place neat all by myself?”

Sarah smiled as she turned her attention back to the balls of light dancing around the room and bouncing from one spot to the next. A dark shadow passed by catching Sarah’s immediate attention.

 

“Grandmother,” Sarah whispered as she pointed to the center of the room. “What is that?”

 

Sarah watched the shadow on the ground shift and moved about. When she lost sight of it, she took a step out into the attack. A loud shriek echoed throughout the house.

 

“She didn’t know,” the grandmother said as the sprites darted and swarmed around Sarah’s head. Sarah tried to stay out of their way swatting them as they passed her by, but she couldn’t keep her balance and tripped over the basket. The dark shadow moved with her.

 

“NO!” The grandmother cried out as Sarah crashed into the mirror. “What have you done!” The grandmother cried as a million shards of broken mirror rained down to the floor causing the sprites to hide.

 

“Don’t move, not one inch,” the grandmother warned as she tried not to step on any of the broken shards getting to Sarah.

 

“I’m sorry,” Sarah apologized as she tried to remain as still as possible.

 

“Sarah, please try not to move. Now that the mirror is broken, one drop of your blood, your mother’s blood and the mirror will restore itself.”

 

“What?”

 

“I told you, that I trapped your mother in the mirror. I used a blood curse to bind the spell.” The grandmother shifted around the broken shards carefully and fumbled through an old trunk next to the window.

 

“Here,” the grandmother said pulling out an old pocket mirror from the trunk and handed it to Sarah. “You were wondering what the inscription on the mirror was, see for yourself.”

 

Sarah held up the small mirror and gazed through the small reflection. Her mouth dropped as she could understand the inscription and slowly read the words out loud.

 

“Animam malam in hac vita aeterna septus in speculo.” As soon as the words left her lips, the shards of glass lifted into the air and began to fill up the wood frame of the mirror piecing itself back together.

 

“Grandmother?”

 

“Don’t move, not yet.”

 

“But grandmother,” Sarah could feel the magic swirling around her and through her as the mirror reconstructed itself whole once more.

 

“Here,” the grandmother said handing her a small hammer. “When I tell you, you must break the mirror or your mother will be released!”

 

“What if I don’t want to trap her?”

 

“She is evil, Sarah you must!”

 

Sarah sucked in a deep breath as the glass sliced her cheeks and arms. Sarah locked her eyes on her grandmother waiting for the signal to strike the glass.

 

“Sarah?” A soft, frail voice called out to Sarah breaking her concentration on her grandmother. “Please, Sarah.” The voice begged.

 

“Don’t let her in,” the grandmother cried out as the wind kicked up. “You must not listen to her!”

 

“Mom?” Sarah turned around crushing the glass with the palm of her hand. A single drop of blood landed on the shards laid out around her, but she didn’t care. She stared at her mother lingering on the other side of the mirror.

 

“It ‘s nice to see you,” Sarah’s mother said with a smile as the glass shards continued to piece together the broken puzzle.

 

“I have to,” Sarah said holding up the hammer.

 

“No, you don’t. You don’t have to do what she says.”

 

“Sarah, now! Break the glass before it is too late!”

 

“That woman is not your grandmother. She died several eons ago.”

 

“This is what I warned you about Sarah, and the darkness will make your mother say anything. Please, break the glass before it is too late.”

 

As the last piece of glass fit into its place the mirror glowed brighter than the sun. Sarah shielded her eyes from the light as she heard her grandmother scream.

 

“Sarah, give me the hammer,” Sarah’s mother stood right beside her as she placed her hand upon Sarah’s shoulder. “It’s okay.” Calmness filled Sarah as she gave up the small hammer to her mother. Tears fell from her eyes as the room dimmed once again.

 

“I put you in that mirror for a reason!”

 

“I know you did! So you could steal my youth, my daughter, my life!” Sarah’s mother shouted as she raised the hammer up and slammed it hard into the mirror.

 

“Close your eyes Sarah, and whatever you do don’t open them,” Sarah’s mother said as lunged towards the old woman. “Your turn!”

 

Sarah’s mother snatched the old woman by her shirt and flew her into the mirror.

 

“Animam malam in hac vita aeterna septus in speculo!”

 

Sarah heard screams rise and fall as the light flickered about causing her to wonder what was happening. She began to peek through her eyelids when she heard her mother’s voice above the screams.

 

“Don’t open your eyes or you will be sucked into the void with her!” Sarah tucked her head down so that she couldn’t hear anything and so that no light could penetrate through her eyelids.

 

“You can’t do this!” The old woman cried out as Sarah heard the glass crack and the voice was gone.

 

“You can open your eyes now.” Sarah did as she was told and slowly looked around the room.

 

“Mom?” Sarah looked at her mother with awe.

 

“Yes, it’s me.”

 

“I don’t…” Sarah couldn’t put into words what she was feeling. Everything was just too much. Sarah stared at the mirror for a moment and watched her grandmother fade into the darkness only to be replaced by her jagged reflection.

 

“I know it is a lot to take in,” Sarah’s mother said smiling weakly. “I know it has been 17 years since you have seen me, but believe me when I say that I have spent the last 17 years watching you from the other side of that mirror and loathing that woman who took you from me all those years ago.”

 

“But she was my grandmother.”

 

“No, she wasn’t. She was just an old hag who tricked us all.”

 

“What do you mean?”

 

“Seventeen years ago the hag came to our doorsteps begging for shelter for the night. I begged your father not to let her in, but it was a harsh and brutal winter. She promised us she would spell our fields so that the winter wouldn’t harm the harvest and so your father let her in. You began crying the moment she stepped into our house. I went upstairs to check on you but I couldn’t sooth you. The hag offered to hold you for a moment. Against my better judgment, I let her and you fell right to sleep in her arms.

 

She asked if we might sell the child to her, but we refused. She asked again saying how she would make it worth our wildest dreams. Your father kicked her out that very night. She cursed us all that very night.

 

Morning came, and your father left to go hunting the way he always did, but he never returned. Hours turned into days, days into weeks. Then, one day a package arrived. It was the mirror. I couldn’t stand to look at it, so I put it up here in the attack. After I had settled you down for a nap, a knock came, and it was the hag. I turned her away, but she forced her way in. I retreated up to the attack with you in my arms when she cast the spell. I was pulled into the mirror. She told me only you could set me free as my blood link to this world. For seventeen years I waited in the dark. The sprites kept me company during those long years.”

 

“Grandma. I mean the old woman said every witch has them to do the witch’s bidding.”

 

“No, my dear. Sprites are the links between realms. They are there to give loved one’s messages, just as I was trying to give you a message. When you tripped, though, they knew they had to cut you to break the spell.”

 

“This is all,” Sarah paused looking at the mirror.

 

“I know, it is, and it will take both of us time to reconnect.”

 

“Well, I guess the first mother-daughter thing we should do is get rid of this mirror.” Sarah’s mother smiled as she hugged Sarah.

 

“This is odd,” Sarah said as she studied the markings around the mirror. “The words have changed.”

 

Sarah’s mother looked at the carving. “Hand me the smaller mirror.”

 

Sarah did as she was told. Her mother lifted the mirror up and turned her back on it to read the inscription.

 

“Clare ardeat, verum ardebit.”

 

The words rolled off the mother’s tongue like it was water. The old hag appeared in the broken shards of the mirror as the wood caught on fire. And as the flames licked and ate the mirror, Sarah, and her mother stood back and watched till the old witch was nothing more than ash.

 

“How about we clean this up and go downstairs?” Sarah’s mom said. Sarah nodded.

 

“I think that is enough magic for me for one night. But,” Sarah paused. “What were those words you said? What were the words I said? Was that a spell?” Sarah’s mother laughed as she grabbed a broom and swept up the ash and tossed it out the window.

 

“I thought you said that was enough magic for one night?”

 

“I know, and I believe it is, but there is just so much to know.”

 

“And you will. I will teach you in time. There is a lot you can learn being trapped inside a magic mirror.”

 

You Might Also Like

Traditions

By July 25, 2016 Flash Fiction
Havasu

“Rayne, will you hurry up?”

Rayne looked down the zigzag trail as she struggled with the heavy pack on her back. For the life of her, she didn’t understand why Todd had insisted on so much gear for the weekend. It wasn’t like they were going to someplace in the far off galaxy. Yet, here she was pretending that the camping gear weighing her down was a jet pack strapped to her back and was the only life line she had from the hostile and unforgiving vacuum of space.

“I’m doing the best I can Toad,” Rayne smirked. Her brother paused for a moment and Rayne knew he was contemplating a retort but wouldn’t dare allow it to escape his lips. He would wait in the tall grass like a predator and strike when the moment was just right. Rayne knew her brother hated being called Toad, but sometimes that is exactly how he would seem.

A large toad propped on a log croaking to the beat of the forest until something would come around and he would leap into the water for his grand retreat.

Rayne shuffled the pack again as she moved carefully down the trail to catch up with him.

“You’re lucky it is your birthday,” Todd warned as Rayne finally made it to his side.

“Not really,” Rayne said as she looked up at him. “If it wasn’t my birthday we wouldn’t be out here in the middle of nowhere trying to get to some sacred pond now would we?”

Sadness drifted over Todd’s face and Rayne could see the pain in his eyes. They never did understand why their dad insisted on keeping with the old traditions. Rayne would have preferred a birthday party with cake and ice cream. For a split second, she envisioned her friends dancing around their backyard as the latest Carrie Underwood song came on the radio. Balloons would be drifting with the breeze and the smell of hamburgers cooking on the grill.

Rayne blinked and the image faded to reveal the dusty zigzag trail the aroma of burgers mingled with the cottonwood trees that hovered over the trail that would lead them down to the sacred Havasu falls.

“Come on sis, we need to pick up the pace if we are to reach the falls before night comes.”

“Yeah, I know,” Rayne said as she shifted her heavy pack once again and continued down the trail.

Rayne couldn’t let go of the image of the party, though. Even as sweat dripped down her forehead and trickled down the back of her neck she imagined that her friends were spraying her with cool water in her backyard. She hated the summer heat. It was as if they were trekking across the face of the sun it was so hot. FInally, they had reached the bottom of the trail and Todd removed his pack.

“We can take a break here,” he said pulling out a bottled water and drinking it deeply.

Rayne didn’t need to be told twice, she let the pack slide off her shoulders and fall to the ground with a thud. She glanced at the tall trees and red rocks pillars that stood like guardians to the valley.

“Mother says that those are the watchmen of the falls and if they were to tumble, the valley would be swallowed whole and magic would be lost forever.”

“That’s nonsense,” Rayne shook her head as she poured water down her bare neck. “I mean really where do they come up with this stuff?”

Todd snorted, “I know, but this is supposed to be a spirit quest or something and you need to know the legends.”

“Why?”

“Because dear sister,” Todd refused to look at Rayne. He adverted his eyes to the large red stone pillars. “I cannot go any further. The rest of the trail is for you to journey.”

“What! No one said I was doing this alone.” Todd glanced at Rayne and placed his hand on her shoulder.

“There is nothing to be scared of, just go down to the creek gather a cup of water and drink it, then come back up and I will be waiting here for you.”

“But..”

“No buts.” Todd’s brow narrowed as he focused his eyes on Rayne. There was something ancient about his face and Rayne finally saw him as he was, her elder brother.

“Why do you think I wanted us to get down so fast? I refuse to let you be alone after dark. Now, if you follow the trail it will take you 30 minutes to get to the falls, then another 30 back. That gives you plenty of time before night comes and we can then go into together and camp for the night.”

“Did you do it this way?”

“No. Father went with me.”

“Then why must I do it alone?”

“Because you are a girl and your life’s journey is different from mine.” Todd sighed and dropped to his knees.

“Mother would have been the one to take you, but I promise she will be with you in spirit. Now go. You are wasting time and I cannot cross the guardians until you come back.”

“Why? Will the tumble or something? Afraid of being the one to cause magic to disappear?” Rayne laughed, Todd did not. She sucked in a deep breath as she looked through the causeway and stared at the dirt trail as she gathered her strength.

“I guess I will see you soon then won’t I?”

“I will be right here when you return. Now go quickly. Run if you can to save some time.” Todd pulled Rayne close to his chest and squeezed her. As he released her he pulled out a trinket from his pocket.

“Take this with you and don’t lose it.” Rayne looked at the necklace as a memory played in her mind.

“It was Mother’s,” Rayne said taking the charm from Todd’s hand. Todd didn’t have to say a word. He nodded as Rayne placed the necklace around her neck.

“See you in a few hours,” Todd said as he stood up. Rayne sucked in a deep breath and reached down for her pack.

“You can’t take that.” Rayne nodded and let the strap go.

Solace was how she felt as she stepped away from her brother and made her way to the red pillars. She glanced over her shoulder as Todd turned his back on her. Her only comfort now was the necklace draped around her neck like a noose as she passed the threshold of the guardians.

When she took another step further away from her brother and nothing happened she began to wonder why she had been so terrified. The breeze was light but hot, the sun still bore its heat down on her and the dusty trail remained before her.

“This is such a waste of time,” she mumbled. “At least the ground is flat now and not uphill.”

Rayne continued to walk down the trail as hope filled her. Without her pack weighing her down, she felt free. She began to pick up the pace and before she knew it she was running down the trail imagining she was on a mighty stallion galloping through the unknown. Her laughter echoed back from the canyon walls as she played making her way to the falls.

Suddenly she came to a stop. The trail split into three different paths. She looked down each path wondering why her brother didn’t mention this before.

“Stay on the path,” she recalled his words. “It will take you to the falls.”

“What path though?” Rayne wondered when she spotted a sign buried in the thick of the trees. Rayne couldn’t make out the wording. Rayne looked up to the sky. The sun was still high up and showed no signs of setting soon.

“Do I go straight, left or right?” Rayne wondered. “Each one should lead me to the same spot, shouldn’t it? Maybe one is longer than the other one but will all lead me to the same destination.”

Rayne began her favorite game of ninny-minnie when she couldn’t make up her mind about something and when her finger landed on the middle path she hesitated briefly before shrugging and continuing on.

The gushing sound of water flowing freely filled her ears and caused her heart to beat faster. A smile stretched across her face as her chest filled with pride of making the right choice.

“Won’t be long now,” she said skipping down the trail.

It wasn’t until the trees grew thicker blocking out the sun did she begin to wonder if she had made the right choice. Rayne stopped skipping and began walking as the wildlife around her ceased. In the distance, she heard a roar that chilled her to her bones.

She glanced around expecting to come eye to eye with some creature that would overpower her and steal her life.

“This can’t be good.” Her eyes darted to and fro trying to find the dangers lurking in the woods when she noticed a small cabin with smoke billowing from the chimney.

Without a second thought, Rayne moved to the cabin climbing over dead branches and tall grass. She climbed the rotting wood stairs as the wood moaned under her weight. Terror filled her as the roar echoed through the canyon. She rapped her knuckles on the door and waited impatiently as she heard footsteps growing closer.

“Hello?” Rayne stared at the withered face of the old woman holding the door open. “Who’s there?”

Rayne swallowed hard trying not to stare at the old woman’s piercing blue eyes. Something about the woman’s gaze penetrated to Rayne’s very soul. Rayne didn’t know whether to run in fear or stay and face the old woman’s wrath for trespassing on her land.

“I’m sorry to bother you but could you tell me where the falls are, I seemed to have taken a wrong turn.”

“Nonsense, there are no wrong turns.”

“So is there a faster way to get to the falls?”

“Youth is always in such a hurry to get to their destination.”

“Yes, well I have to get back to my brother before nightfall.”

“And he is at the falls?”

“Well, no, but he is waiting for me.”

“Then he understands patience and knows you will return when you return.”

“So how much further to the falls?”

“It is not far. Why don’t you come inside and let me get you something to drink.”

“Thank you, but perhaps another time. Right now,”

“I know, you want to get to the falls.”

“Yes, please.” A smile lingered on the old woman’s face as she began to play with a trinket around her neck.

“Indulge me child and come inside for just a moment. Replenish yourself and then I will show you how to get to the falls.”

“I couldn’t. I’m sorry.” The old woman shook her head as she breathed in deeply.

“Very well then we shall go to the falls together.”

“You don’t have to come with me,” Rayne said.

“But I do.” The old woman insisted as she stepped out of the doorway.

“Hand me a stick from the yard so that I may have something to help me walk with.”

“Ma’am,” Rayne said as she stepped down the wooden stairs. “You really don’t have to come.”

“There is a difference between requiring to do a task and wanting to do a task. The line is drawn in the heart. You can either choose to be put out, or see it as a means of kindness. That line though only the person a draw within themselves. It makes the world of difference whether you jump over the line or let it be a hindrance and a boundary. Now, come we must go. Your brother is waiting for you.”

Rayne handed the old woman a large stick. “Will this do?”

“Yes, that will do.”

The two of them began walking side by side back down the dark overgrown trail. The trees remained still as the wildlife seized to be heard. Dread filled Rayne as they walked. She began it envision the old woman turning into a killer. Rayne glanced around the trees wondering how many people were buried in the shadows.

“Tell me about your brother,” the old woman said. “Is he handsome?” Rayne jumped slightly as the old woman spoke. She looked at the woman hunched over her walking stick pushing the evil thoughts from her mind.

Rayne chuckled low as she tried not to let her voice waver. “The other girls think so.”

“And what about your father? Is he doing well? Where is he?”

“Well, he works a lot. I think sometimes though he would prefer I was a boy so that I could help out, but that is why he has Todd.”

“Is that your brother?”

“Yes.”

“And he left you to travel to the falls alone?”

“Apparently, it is a tradition in my family to drink from the sacred waters-”

“When you turn 16,” the old woman finished Rayne’s sentence. Rayne glanced at her and nodded. “My how time moves so differently here.”

Rayne glanced at the old woman her eyebrows pressed together with confusion.

“Oh don’t be so surprised, that tradition is sacred to many families. You would be surprised at how many young girls make the trek alone. But not too many choose the path you did that comes to my front door.”

“So I choose poorly.”

“No, you chose according to what your heart told you to do. There is nothing wrong with that. And you see,” the old woman pointed down the trail. “You still managed to get to the falls.”

“Wow!” Rayne’s eyes widened as she witnesses the falls for the first time. The brilliant blue waters flowed like magic down the red cliffs. Each droplet shimmered and sparkled like diamonds. Rayne’s jaw dropped as she imagined the birth of stars forming here in this very spot.

“This is amazing,” Rayan said staring at the sight before her.

“It most certainly is my dear. You see, no path is wrong. Each one will lead you to your destination. But you need to enjoy the journey you are on and do not second guess yourself.”

Rayne looked up to the sky. The canopy swayed in the wind revealing the midday sun still high above their heads.

“Thank you,” Rayne said turning to the old woman. The woman smiled.

“It was my pleasure. Now go and drink as tradition requires you so that you are no longer a girl but a woman.”

“What if I don’t want to, though? What if I want to remain a child.”

“Life, unfortunately, doesn’t work like that. Everyone must grow old and cross the bridge to start their next journey. Now go, your brother is waiting and I am getting sleepy.”

Rayne walked slowly over to the water kneeled and dipped her hands into the cool blue liquid. As she drew her hands up to her mouth she thought about her carefree life and what it would mean to become a woman. She stared at the water in her palms. She could see a distorted reflection of herself gazing back at her. Rayne closed her eyes and took a sip.

The water flowed down her throat soothing the dryness of her tongue as she told herself it was only water. Nothing would ever change her or who she was on the inside. She let the water flow from her palms as she dropped her head. What she thought was a stupid tradition seemed so real and permanent in that moment she wanted to cry.

“Life does not happen all at once,” the old woman said. “It happens gradually and over time.”

Rayne looked over her shoulder to see her mother standing behind her.

“Mom?”

“I felt the same way when I drank from the water, refusing to allow myself to be changed by the magic that is born here. But it isn’t as bad as you think it is. It is merely a step up from where you were before.”

Rayne rose and rushed over to embrace her mother. But as her arms wrapped around her mother’s neck, they drifted through the air.

“Do not mourn for me, for I am not here. I am the wind in the trees, the dirt at your feet and the stars that smile down from the heavens.”

Rayne couldn’t control the torrent of tears flowing from her eyes as she watched her mother fade from her vision.

“Take care of your brother and father. Tell them I will meet them on the bridge between this world and the next.” Her mother’s voice was drowned by the rustling of the leaves in the trees above her.

Before Rayne could say anything else, her mother was gone and she was once again alone. Rayne looked up to the sky as the sun lingered over the canyon wall hinting night would be coming soon. She wiped away her tears and smiled as a cool breeze kissed her skin.

“I love you,” Rayne whispered as the leaves in the trees brushes against each other filling Rayne with hope. She looked back at the blue waters that were slowly fading to green with the shifting of the sun.

“I will see you again, but not today.”

Rayne gathered herself and began the trek back to the opening where her brother waited for her. With each step, she felt further from the girl she once was. With every call of the wild echoing from the unknown, she felt at peace knowing her mother was right next to her.

The sky was orange with soft lavender clouds rolling overhead by the time she reached the large red pillars. Her brother stood up as he saw her coming down the trail.

“You made it!” Todd’s voice carried across the causeway. “I was beginning to worry.”

Rayne passed the pillars and looked back to the trail hoping for a glimpse of the magic to remain, but it had fallen to the dirt like gold flakes.

“Did you know?” Rayne asked looking at Todd.

“Know what?”

“That mom was waiting for me?”

“Does it matter if I did?”

Rayne thought about it for a moment and shook her head. “No, I guess it doesn’t.”

“Happy Birthday Rayne.” Todd wrapped his arms around Rayne pulling her to his chest as the sun pulled the stars behind it.

You Might Also Like

What Is THAT?

By June 4, 2016 WHAT IS THAT?
What is That Answer 1 no website

What is That Answer 1

The Novel and the Screenplay

By June 2, 2016 Articles, Resources
CFDbs-list-of-Christian-Production-Companies

What does a novel and a screenplay have in common? They are both forms of expression to tell a tale. While the Novel is a larger body of work compared to the screenplay, in essence, they are the same. Both the novel and the screenplay build a character or characters up, put the characters through the ringer to change them. That is the basic reality of any story whether it is 1 page or 1,000.

 

While the novel does this in 300 pages or more, the screenplay is cut condensed into roughly 120 pages- if that. Many screenplays these days run around 104. That means that there is three times the amount of information that is piled into a screenplay to make the story work. No wonder screenplays can pay significant money. It’s hard work and takes time, just like a novel. But did you know that you can use the lessons and structure found in a screenplay to better your novel, just as you can use a novel to strengthen your screenplay? Let’s start with the “hook” or “logline.”

 

THE LOGLINES:

 

Every screenwriter knows that they need a great logline to capture their audience. For novels this is called a “Hook,” and the film industry it is one or two lines describing what the story is about. Take the movie Die Hard for example. The log line is “40 Flights of Adventure.” Pretty much sums it up doesn’t it? Now you add the poster, and you see that it is a movie set in a skyscraper and some macho man going to save the day. For many screenwriters, they need the one/two punch to hook their audience. They need an amazing title and a stunning logline.

 

So how does a logline help novelists?

The next time you go to Barnes and Noble or even an online store like Amazon.com and search for a book, you read the description of the book. Usually, this is about a paragraph long describing in detail what the book is about. When you add the element of urgency of a logline into your blurb for your book, you create something stunning and noteworthy. The logline is a fast in your face way of capturing the audience’s attention and can be used for hooking your next reader into buying the novel. This is the novelists “one/two punch” so to speak that captivates the reader and makes them want to read more. Now that you have your audience’s attention with a killer title and logline or hook, you don’t want to let them down by introducing them to poorly written characters.

 

CHARACTERS:

 

According to a post “Screenplay Writing Infographic,” by Stephanie,  one of the graphs shows quite clearly how character development can sink your script faster than the Titanic. In the infographic, the statistics show that 46 scripts out of the 300 submitted have the female parts underwritten. 51 scripts show the villain to cartoonish, and 39 scripts have the standard issue protagonist hero. Those are some pretty sad numbers if you look at the fact that they came from out of 300. Executives receive thousands of scripts a month- think about that and take into account these facts of character development.

 

When you plot out your story first, the way a novelist would do, you will be forced to color in your character. You will have to give your characters flaws and idiosyncrasies as well as quarks and in the film industry, they are called “ticks.” Blake Synder suggests adding seven flaws to every character. When you are writing a novel, it is very easy to show these flaws and the journey the main character makes to overcome them. When writing a script, you need to be precise and to the point. That is why it is so important to write out your story first before even attempting to put it into a script.

 

When you write out everything from setting, feelings, thoughts, expressions and the like, you have dug inside your character and this new world and flesh them out. During this stage, there is room for all genres that you want to touch on. Maybe there will be a scene where you want your character to encounter a ghost and freak out about it and in the next chapter, you want a love scene. Many screenwriters battle with flopping genres constantly. They begin with a comedy and by act three their comedy has turned serious. If you write it all out and get it on paper, every idea and scene you want to throw your characters into, you can. Then, when you are ready to move onto writing the script, you will be able to see what works, what doesn’t and what flows according to the mini-novel you just wrote.

 

A novelist can learn a lot from screenwriters when it comes to dialog. Your characters have to speak, and the only reason for dialog is to move the story forward and reveals information about the character or problems at hand. Some novels lack the basic structure for dialog and have their characters talking just to fill up the page and adds no importance or value to the story.

 

No matter what area you write for, screenplay or novel you must make your characters active. Your characters cannot be forced into scenes or situations. Your characters cannot just stand by and let things happen to them. They have to be active. Is it no coincidence that the word “act” is the center of the word “Character.”

 

15 BEATS:

 

By now every screenwriter has a plethora of books they turn to to get structure and timing down. Thanks to Blake Synder’s “Save the Cat” books, there is now a formula that will help an aspiring writer. Blake’s formula shouldn’t be a go-to formula or status quo when writing a script. The 15 beats he nails out should be a reminder of what a true story needs to be. It shows the growth of the character and shouldn’t be taken so literally page by page.

 

The beats though work well for finding your voice as a writer and help to narrow down what the story is, and what is important. When you take the beat sheet as a whole, all it does is give ques as what needs to happen next to move the story along. The beat sheet has become the go-to for many screenwriters, but in fact, it is more set up for novelists to help keep them on track.

 

Save the Cat Beat Sheet:

1) Opening Image: The very first impression of what the story is about. It is the starting point of the hero or main character. It sets the mood, style, and tone for the story.

2) Theme Stated: It is the statement or question posed to the main character that doesn’t make much sense but will later. It is the bones of what the story is based on.

3) Set-Up: Is to “set up” the hero, the stakes, and the goal of the story. This is also the place to stick in flaws for the character.

4) Catalyst: Something happens to our character that changes the mundane world, flips them and causes havoc. It is a life-changing event.

5) Debate: This is where the character must decide what to do about the catalyst. They must debate all options for them to move forward.

6) Break into Act 2: Is the moment where we leave the old world of the “Set-Up” and enter into the unknown. The hero must make the decision, they cannot be bartered or pushed or coerced.

7) B Story: Also known as the “Love Story” and carries the theme of the story. It is also a break from the craziness of the “A” story or journey our hero is on. It is often a brand new set of characters.

8) Fun and Games: Shows the character as the hero he is and kicking butt. It is the fun stuff, the mystical stuff, the magic that makes the hero so great or the villain so bad. It is fun and purely entertaining.

9) Midpoint: The hero will be on top of the world or struggling. And the stakes are raised at the midpoint of the story. This is the halfway point of the story. Its counterpart is “All is Lost”-

THE RULE: It’s never as good as it seems to be at the midpoint and it’s never as bad as it seems at the All is Lost point. Or vise verse. Never as bad as it is in midpoint and not as good as it is when All is Lost. The midpoint is either a false victory or a false defeat and “All is Lost” is the opposite of it.

10) Bad Guys Close In: Applies to the situation the hero is in at Midpoint. All may be fine (false victory/incomplete victory), and the hero and companions are all in sync, but this is where the bad guys regroup and send in the heavy artillery. This is the point where internal dissent, doubt, and jealousy begin to disintegrate the hero’s team.

11) All is Lost: The twin sister of “Midpoint” with the added “whiff of death” sprinkled into the story. The rule remains: It’s never as good as it seems in the midpoint and not as bad as it seems at “all is lost” or vice versa. All is lost is where mentors go to die, presumably so their students can discover “they had it them all along.” This is the moment where the old world, the old character, the old way of thinking dies and the hero must emerge to become better.

12) Dark Night of the Soul: NOTE: This part doesn’t have to last long, but needs to be in the story. It’s the hopeless, clueless, drunk and stupid sitting on the side of the road with a flat tire and four cents late for the big appointment that will save our lives moment. The character/s must be beaten and know it to get the lesson. It is the moment to weep and feel sorry before standing up and make a stand as to what the hell is the characters going to do next.

13) Break into Act 3: Now thanks to the characters in the “B-story” thanks to all the conversations discussing the theme in the b story and the hero’s last best effort to discover a solution to beat the bad guys who’ve been closing in and winning in the “A-Story” the answer is found.

14) Finale: This is where the character tics are mastered and overcome. Where the bad guys are defeated in ascending order from the low life up to the boss- The chief source of the problem whether a person or a thing must be dispatched completely for the new world order to exist. It is not enough for the hero to win overall, he must change the world.

15) Final Image: The final image is the opposite of the beginning and shows that changes have occurred.

 

When you write out your story and all the finer details of what the world entails, this beat sheet can work wonders. But far too many writers make this list their go-to for what needs to happen and where without thinking if they should put that tidbit of information there or not. That is why there are so many bad movies these days. Too often people aren’t confident enough with their own work that they hold onto the crutch of structure like this beat sheet. Don’t use the cheat sheet when making a script. Use it to define your story ideas first. Add each element to the novel to make it sparkle and then after everything is written and put down on paper, and you can pick through to find all these elements that make up a great story.

 

So, you see writing a script and a novel require the creative side to play. When you bog down that freedom, you end up with poorly written works that won’t go anywhere. Write everything out in novel form. Even if you aren’t going to sell it as a book, get it all out on the table so that you can pick and choose what will work in the 100 pages you are restricted to when writing your next script.

 

You Might Also Like

Writing Prompts

By May 30, 2016 Articles
Stephen King Quote

Every writer gets trapped every once in a while, and they need a little inspiration for finding a story they can create. Well, here is seven writing prompts that can help break you out of that writer’s labyrinth we all find ourselves in sometimes.

Fantasy:
1) A girl finds herself lost in her backyard where instead of her normal playground she finds herself in a forest and needs to find her way back home. Too bad the fairies that are flying around are vicious creatures that won’t help and the growling monster may be the only creature in this realm that knows how to get her home.
2) What if you ate some wild berries that magically turned you into a dragon or some other mythical beast?
3) What mythological story is your favorite? How can you re-write it?
4) What if you discover a pond as you are hiking in the woods and you decide to go for a swim, only when you get out, you realize too much time has passed- in fact, 100’s of years has passed? Or flip it around and you go back in time to the Knights of the Round Table?

Science Fiction:
5) You are given a new digital journal that tracks your adventures and location of where you have been. But the journal begins to write not your life story, but another who happens to of killed someone, and now, the cops are after you thanks to your digital journal recording the wrong information.
6) Only a certain amount of people can survive on a ship lost in space, but who survives and who dies?

Horror/ Suspense:
7) A baby sister starts to hear something coming from the monitor when she goes to check out the noise, and she sees someone standing near the baby crib. Panicked she screams, and the person vanishes. She grabs the kid and calls the parents. The parents tell her not to panic, that the ghost won’t harm the child, but might kill her.

You Might Also Like

Building Your Characters

By May 26, 2016 Resources
character-title

There are a lot of different strategies for creating memorable characters. Some workshops will have you writing the character’s entire life story before even beginning to write the novel or script. Some instructors will have you keep a journal that you write in every day, or week, as your character to get a feel for who they are and how they will respond to the situations that you put them in. All of this is great advice. If you have the time, do it. Get a composition notebook for each character and write each day in their voice to get a feel for who they are. But some quick reminders for building characters-

 

1) Your character must have a dramatic need. The dramatic need is what powers your character to go the distance and defeat the villain.

 

2) Your Character must have a unique point of view of the world. Think of this as the belief system. Some will believe fairies exist, some will believe that the time travel happened and will see things differently than those who don’t believe.

 

3) Your character must have an attitude. While some will see attitude and point of view as the same thing, they are in fact different parts of your character. Think of the attitude as how they react to the situation – whether they are pissed off about it, scared, overwhelmed, etc. But that attitude for them isn’t how they see the world. Just because they are pissed off for whatever reason will have no effect on their belief system that fairies are real.

 

4) Your characters must be present and take action. You cannot have a character not act on something. You can have your character react to an earthquake, but then what happens afterward builds credit to your character. Your character makes a plan to go somewhere safe, or they decided to stick around and help clean up. Your character cannot be dragged around or follow anyone. They must take charge and make their plans. After all, that is why people are interested in their progress. If you lose this element, the character will fade off the page, and you won’t have a story.

 

5) Don’t forget to add a mentor, or half-man to your stories. These kinds of characters help give your main character a boost, as well as helps add pages to the manuscript.

 

Now that you have an idea of how to make better characters get out there and write something amazing!

You Might Also Like

3 Rules for Writing Horror

By May 23, 2016 Articles, Resources
skull in blue flame

3 Rules to Creating Horror Stories

No matter what genre you write for, there are a certain set of standards that need to be obeyed. Horror is no different. The rules for horror though are different than that of any other genre due to the nature of the storytelling. So, if you want to write a great horror story, try not to break these five rules.

Rule #1: Containment
If you look at each horror movie, you will find that they are pretty much all the same. Take Jaws and Aliens. They are the same story. Sure one is about an Alien in space that is determined to eat the crew while Jaws is terrorizing a small community on Earth. Both of these movies have the villain contained in a small space. Whether it is a town or a ship, it doesn’t matter. Adding boundaries to your story makes it more intense. Look at the movie “Cabin in the Woods.” The filmmakers literally put a force field around the cabin to keep the main characters entrapped and unable to get help from the outside world. The movie “E.T” does the same thing. By containing the threat, it makes for a much more personal in your face setting.

Rule #2: A Monster
If you want to write horror, you will need one hell of a villain. There are three kinds of monsters that you can unleash in your story.
A) A pure monster.
B) Domestic Monster.
C) Serial Monster.

Pure monster is just that, pure. It wasn’t a hybrid or something concocted in a lab. It is just a pure evil that has been born, raised and built to do great harm and evil. These monsters do evil because it is in their nature to do so.

A Domestic monster is the crossbreeds. These are your hybrid monsters that were torn from their normal lives and created or turned into the monster that is now terrorizing your characters. These are the ones that usually have a back story as to why they have become so evil. This is also the way many of the villains get defeated as well. Their back stories will give the hero the answer they need to overcome them.

The Serial Monsters that you find in most gore fest movies these days that are hell bent on killing everyone within a five-mile radius. These are the kind of monsters that do what they do because they enjoy it.
Rule #3: Sin

Sin is by far the number one rule not to break when creating a great horror film. Sin is what induces guilt and what makes the whole experience so horrible. It is the fact that your characters did something to bring these creatures into their space and if they don’t defeat the monster, it isn’t just their lives that are lost, but their souls as well. Sin is a major driving force for your characters to set things right. It gives your characters a reason to fight on instead of giving up. Think about Aliens for example. Greed was the sin that brought the Alien aboard that eventually destroyed the cast and the whole reason the company wanted to go back for a second and third installment. Same with Jaws, if the mayor had just closed the beach down instead of letting greed control his actions, the movie would be over.

So think about these rules and how you can add them into your stories.

You Might Also Like

Top 10 Stephen King Books

By May 6, 2016 Articles
old-book-1426980-639x425

Are you looking for a good book to read, but aren’t sure where to look? There are so many different books on the shelves these days it is difficult to sort through them all. Why not start with the classics from Stephen King. Here are my favorite books and maybe they might end up being your favorite too.

 

firestarter-9781441732958-lg10) Firestarter – If you are looking for a book that is about superhuman powers and espionage, then look no further than Fire starter. While the movie is available and stars the cute and adorable Drew Berrymore as Charlie, the book is by far superior. The things this poor kid goes through is unbelievable. King pulls you in and doesn’t let you go. This story is about a father and daughter who have been tested on. He has powers just like she does, but Charlie’s is by far way more advanced than his and in order to save them both she must tap into that power.

Bag_of_Bones_10th

9) Bag of Bones  – This is down right a ghost story. This poor guy is trying to forget about his wife and goes to a secluded cabin to get away from it all. However, something lurks in the shadows that pulls not only him, but the reader as well into a whole new world. Loved this book because of how it wasn’t over the top creepy, but enough to give me goose bumps. Plus it is a love story. Who doesn’t like those right?

 

 

 

Tommyknockers8) The Tommyknockers – If you are looking for a good science fiction book then I would suggest getting the “Tommyknockers.” While the story is (spoiler alert) based around aliens, the story is so believable it will have you wondering what is buried in your back yard. The movie doesn’t do this book justice, but they never do. If you want the jest of the book, see the movie. If you want a good sci-fi that is hauntingly good, read the book.

 

 

 

51bqPdpHMBL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_7) The Shining  While Jack Nicholson did a fantastic job with his role, the mom not so much. Plus, it is said that King actually wrote this book in the haunted hotel that it is based on. While everyone and their dog knows what “The Shinning” is all about, it is still a classic and a great spooky story to get into.

 

 

 

 

NeedfulThingsBookCover6) Needful Things  – King really did an awesome number with this book. Only he could find a way to make something that you want and love seem so evil and distorted. This book doesn’t have the scare effect, but does resonate with a lot of “Twilight Zone” and “Alfred Hitchcock” movies. I will say I enjoyed the movie just as much as I liked the booked.

 

 

 

Carrie25) Carrie  – Stephen Kings first book and one of the grosses prom scenes ever! While I can only image what it would be like living with those kinds of powers, I can’t see classmates dumping blood on me after electing me prom queen. But that is what makes Stephen King so great, he leaves his inhibitions at the door when he turns on his computer screen.

 

 

 

 

Stand24) The Stand  Television did a miniseries about this book and although they tried, they didn’t get it at all. The book goes into so much more detail about how the world ends and who is effected by the plague. Not to mention the fact that in the book, you get to be closer with the characters-like Nick. Although he was deaf and dumb, I really liked him and can’t believe- never mind. Read the book and chose your side. As for me, I think I will take the old lady over Flagg any day. (By the way, King has used Flagg in at least 9 other books including my favorite “Eyes of the Dragon.” Must be something about a character that just won’t die.)

 

 

MV5BMjI2MDU1MTk5NV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwODA2MDE3MTE@._V1_UY1200_CR82,0,630,1200_AL_3) Cujo  – While most people are aware to steer clear of a vicious dog, King places his characters right there front and center. Cujo made every pet owner suspicious of other people’s dogs for a while. Even now I wonder if my dog doesn’t have a bit of a mad streak in him. But that is what King does, he takes the ordinary and makes it extraordinary.

 

 

 

 

 

Eyes of the Dragon2) Eyes of the Dragon  -If you are looking for something that is less gruesome and scary and more medieval then “Eyes of the Dragon” is the perfect book for you. There are so many reasons why this is my favorite book by King. Let’s see, the story is set in a castle where our main character see’s a plot to over throw the King through a secret room that is hidden behind a dragon’s head, thus the name of the book. Flagg is in this one like I mentioned before as an evil sorcerer. This book is one of the best King has ever done in my opinion and well worth the read.

 

 

It1)  IT  If clowns didn’t freak you out from Poltergeist, then Penniwise will definitely make you step aside every time you get to a drain. While I wasn’t impressed with the mini series they did for television, the book creeped me out for weeks. I still can’t sleep without the light turned on after reading this book and I know how it ends! If you are looking for something that will scary the crap out of you, read this book. It’s long, not going to lie, but so was the Stand and you will be amazed at how much the pages fly by.

 

 

 

 

RUNNER UPS:

 

King has been around for EVER it seems and there are so many books for so many different people. These are the two runner ups that need to be mentioned because they are just as amazing as the others that made it on the list.

 

book-film-review-stephen-king-s-thinnerTHINNER  If you have never rode the train in Europe and have never seen real life gypsies, then I wouldn’t read this. Then again, maybe you should just so you can be warned about what could happen if you piss one off. Thinner is a great “magic” story. The dude has a serious problem after being cursed by a gypsy and loses weight fast to where there is nothing left of him. Talk about the ultimate diet.

 

 

 

GeraldsGameGERALD’S GAME  Forget 50 Shades of … well anything and pick up Gerald’s Game. The sex is hot and steamy, that is until King has his way. The lesson that comes to mind after reading this book: Don’t get handcuffed to the bed without a spare set of keys near by. And don’t date a dude who’s so much older than you that is prone to have a heart attack.

You Might Also Like

My Favorite Poem

By May 2, 2016 Articles
Raven 3
The Raven
raven 2
Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore—
    While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
“’Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door—
            Only this and nothing more.”
    Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December;
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
    Eagerly I wished the morrow;—vainly I had sought to borrow
    From my books surcease of sorrow—sorrow for the lost Lenore—
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore—
            Nameless here for evermore.
    And the silken, sad, uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me—filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
    So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating
    “’Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door—
Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door;—
            This it is and nothing more.”
    Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
“Sir,” said I, “or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
    But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
    And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you”—here I opened wide the door;—
            Darkness there and nothing more.
    Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before;
    But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token,
    And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, “Lenore?”
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, “Lenore!”—
            Merely this and nothing more.
    Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.
    “Surely,” said I, “surely that is something at my window lattice;
      Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore—
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore;—
            ’Tis the wind and nothing more!”
    Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately Raven of the saintly days of yore;
    Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
    But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door—
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door—
            Perched, and sat, and nothing more.
Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore,
“Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,” I said, “art sure no craven,
Ghastly grim and ancient Raven wandering from the Nightly shore—
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night’s Plutonian shore!”
            Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”
    Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
Though its answer little meaning—little relevancy bore;
    For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
    Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above his chamber door—
Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door,
            With such name as “Nevermore.”
    But the Raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
    Nothing farther then he uttered—not a feather then he fluttered—
    Till I scarcely more than muttered “Other friends have flown before—
On the morrow he will leave me, as my Hopes have flown before.”
            Then the bird said “Nevermore.”
    Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
“Doubtless,” said I, “what it utters is its only stock and store
    Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster
    Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore—
Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden bore
            Of ‘Never—nevermore’.”
    But the Raven still beguiling all my fancy into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird, and bust and door;
    Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
    Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore—
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous bird of yore
            Meant in croaking “Nevermore.”
    This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom’s core;
    This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
    On the cushion’s velvet lining that the lamp-light gloated o’er,
But whose velvet-violet lining with the lamp-light gloating o’er,
            She shall press, ah, nevermore!
    Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
Swung by Seraphim whose foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor.
    “Wretch,” I cried, “thy God hath lent thee—by these angels he hath sent thee
    Respite—respite and nepenthe from thy memories of Lenore;
Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe and forget this lost Lenore!”
            Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”
    “Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil!—prophet still, if bird or devil!—
Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
    Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted—
    On this home by Horror haunted—tell me truly, I implore—
Is there—is there balm in Gilead?—tell me—tell me, I implore!”
            Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”
    “Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil!—prophet still, if bird or devil!
By that Heaven that bends above us—by that God we both adore—
    Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
    It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore—
Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore.”
            Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”
    “Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend!” I shrieked, upstarting—
“Get thee back into the tempest and the Night’s Plutonian shore!
    Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
    Leave my loneliness unbroken!—quit the bust above my door!
Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!”
            Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”
    And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
    And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon’s that is dreaming,
    And the lamp-light o’er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
            Shall be lifted—nevermore!

You Might Also Like