Girl in a Box – A Story Prompt

I had a half sleeping dream last night, a blur of images that seemed perfectly odd and delicious…something that might make a great story, short or otherwise. The problem, then, is that I’m not sure where to go with it and I think that one or two of you guys might create something more interesting with this so….I’ve decided to throw the prompt out there! YAY!!

Here are the guidelines…

  1. If you choose to use this prompt and post a short story or excerpt…please link back to this post.
  2. Let me know that you’ve used the prompt and leave a link to your post so we can all go enjoy it!

 

Writing Prompt:

Jenny paused outside of the large glass windows of the first store she came to. Inside, there were enormous pastel colored triple helixes slowing twisting and turn all around each other as if they were suspended in an antigravity tank, or that video on DNA they’d watched in science class. This was clearly not your average mall. She was beginning to grow concerned about what would come next. Maybe, she mused, I don’t actually want to turn in my application to Girl in a Box!

Pre-Orders are OPEN!

Ladies and Gentlemen…the time has come! Little Monster is currently available for pre-order and goes LIVE on October the 5th.

Now, I know that I told you pre-orders would be available on September 20th, and I’m sorry for the delay, but there was a family emergency that involved going to my other hometown, which I haven’t visited in several years for many not-good-anymore reasons, and being without internet for 5 days. HOWEVER, he is here now!

I hope that you enjoy this simple story with gorgeous artwork. This was truly a labor of love.

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3 Ways to Tell that this is THE ONE (partner) for Writers

With the exception of a few close writing friends that I used to do ’round writing’ with, I have never worked with other people for the writing process. The story, and all of it’s parts, have remained my own. Even going so far as to make up cities in the approximate area of actual areas just so I don’t have any ties to them later on. However, that changed a bit today, and I am so incredibly excited about this new adventure!

Today My father (Dr. Wilson Jay Tyree) and Myself (Elizabeth S. Tyree) met with the director of Tanganyika Wildlife Park, a privately funded wildlife park/refuge that is beautifully cared for and well loved in Kansas (just 2 hours from our home in Oklahoma). Now one of my favorite characters will be housed in the facility for our books. I’m so excited to get this book together now! (If you want to donate something to their park, or just check out the kind of things these animals might want/need you can see their multiple wish lists HERE)

Thinking back over it, there were 3 real reasons that I abandoned the ‘all on my onesie’ approach for this book. If you are also a ‘loner’ but think that you might want to work with someone, or somewhere, for your next project, these might help you decide!

1 – I could SEE my story happening there. Its not just that my character is a lemur and they have a great little island for lemurs. Although that was a big draw! In reality, I could see my main character interacting happily with the entire park. (also, my Lemur’s name has always been Leonard, and they have an ambassador lemur by the same name! Talk about matches made in happy places!)

2 – It felt welcoming (for animals and humans). This park felt like a place I would happily visit often. When working with someone (or somewhere) else, you need to be relatively certain that you can work closely with them

3 – I felt pulled to contact the director/assistant director. This was the biggest indication for me that I should go ahead and ask if they might be willing to work with me. Whether or not you believe in ‘following your gut’, if you are thinking about a particular partnership often (or can’t get it out of your mind) then that is a good indication that you should pursue the possibility.

I hope that this helps you decide if grabbing a partner or plopping your story down in a certain place might be the right answer for you!

As always, I look forward to your questions and comments! I leave you with a few pictures from today’s productive trip:

Bintorung - from South Easter Asia.

Bintorung – from South Eastern Asia.

Indian Rhinoceros - this one is excited for feeding time!

Travis the Indian Rhinoceros – this one is excited for feeding time!

Red River Hog looking for bugs in the mud!

Red River Hog looking for bugs in the mud!

A Black Howler Monkey--he refused to howl for me, but finally decided  to come down and make faces!

A Black Howler Monkey–he refused to howl for me, but finally decided to come down and make faces!

Sky, the 9 year old female White Tiger. She loves her ground beef

Sky, the 9 year old female White Tiger. She loves her ground beef

Baby Javan Langurs having fun

Baby Javan Langurs having fun

Meet Emmet, the 30 year old tortoise who was so well loved in the feeding arena that he outgrew the area and was put in with the Kangaroos this week! Love hearing things like that!

Meet Emmet, the 30 year old tortoise who was so well loved in the feeding arena that he outgrew the area and was put in with the Kangaroos this week! Love hearing things like that!

Thrashin’ Thursday

This week has been an odd one. With teacher work days on Monday (no school for students) and a sick child, it doesn’t seem as if it should be Thursday today…but I’m not sure if it should be earlier or later in the week! All afternoon I felt as if it were Friday, only to be sadly disappointed when I realized otherwise. Every student has been cranked up and crazy, and there are 2 new ones this week too!

According to friends and relatives (who lead real lives and go outside once in a while) this oddness has stretched out to non-school related places like eateries, shopping places, and extra-special road rage. So now I am curious, is this just our area? Is it just the result of odd weather changes and the extra super moon last week? Or is something more sinister afoot? (Or ahead, or a-hand, or perhaps an-ear?)

Should I chalk it up to the excessive amount of adhd and uneducated people that are piling into our area and perhaps write a story centering around it…or should I worry?

How are things in your neck of the woods?

What Are YOU Reading Wednesday

Amazingly enough, I am actually reading a non-school related book this week. Of course, it is StoryBranding 2.0, a book for authors who are looking to write their brand. (I think anyway…I haven’t gotten very far into the book yet.). Now, I got this one (and a few others) from StoryCartel.com which leads me to two questions for you today:

1) How do YOU feel about receiving free merchandise (specifically books) in order to give a review. Do you feel like it pushes the reviewers to give more favorable reviews, or do you think that they are still fair and honest?

2) Do You read books concerning your profession or your writing goals? Would you consider reading the almost self-help like information on “HOW-TO” write to your brand, market your story, writer while standing on one toe in the snow, etc.?

And of course, there is always that third question of What are YOU reading this week? That is, really, what this weekly post is all about. Learning more about my audience through their reading preferences. Although, usually, I get a comments about how you guys aren’t reading anything more than your own works as you edit, the inside of your eyelids as you try not to cry your way through the writer’s block, and (obviously) my ‘fabulous’ blog. I do appreciate the support, but we should all be a little more well read at this point 😉

May you find the words that open up your world, and may they (and you) be blessed beyond measure!

 

Writing: A short short

“I got nothin’,” the writer sighed, setting her bright pen down carefully on the stark white page, “I can’t even get a first sentence out tonight.”

“You know,” a voice filtered through the fog, “It’s been said that writer’s block happens when your imaginary friends refuse to talk to you.”

“Oh they’re talking to me,” she replied absentmindedly, not thinking to wonder where the voice had come from, “But unless you want me to write my Short Story Sunday piece on whose hair looks better today, they’re pretty useless right now.”

“Maybe that should be your story,” the whisper hissed helpfully, slowly fading as though the unseen person were backing away from her stone bench. “The non-story of how you don’t have any prompts…”

“Maybe…thank you,” she turned to smile at her advisor, but there was no one to be seen. Just the empty lake front and her, sitting alone in the chilly air. “Huh, a non-story,” she picked her pen up again, not giving much thought to her mysterious aid, she had learned long ago to not to. “Naw, that would never work!”  

 

 

        (Photos taken by me, Elizabeth S. Tyree, during the fall of 2012 at the Chickasaw National Recreation Area in Sulphur, Ok.)

A Dragon Legend

“Grandmother,” Alexianne’s young voice floated across the large room on a yawn, “Will you tell us a story?”

Grandma Dragon, her head resting just inside the large “Family Den” that Sir Brandon Livingstone has built them, smiled softly at the her youngest grandchild, “Does everyone wish to have a story?”

Three dragon heads and seven human ones all lazily nodded their assent, each one in a daze of happily exhausted laziness.

So with her deep and soothing voice rounding out the words, in the way of grandmothers through the worlds and times, she began:

When the world of our ancestors was still very young, before the rift between the worlds of magic and mortal, the realms were filled with all types of fantastical creatures. You already know of the nymphs and naiads, fairies and, of course, the dragons (to name a few). But perhaps the sweetest and shyest of all mythological beasts were our own distant cousins, the Sea Dragons.

High on a misty mountain top, above a peaceful village, lived Harlan Sciathain (That is, Harlan of the Dark Wings). Now Harlan had lived on the mountain for as long as anyone could remember and was the village of Venscha’s friend and protector. He had never met another like him, not even his mother, for his egg had been a gift from Ayethni, this great dragon mother, whom the Creator had gifted with the care of such creatures.

One day, as Harlan sat keeping watch over the village below, a group of travelling peddlers came to town with their bright wagons and wares to sell. Among these travelers was a blind old storyteller and, as everyone likes a good story, each and every villager whether they were young old, rich, poor, or covered in scales gathered in the town meeting place to hear an adventure.

The bard did not disappoint, delivering a tale of great suspense and detailing the exploits of one family of dragons living to the east. As you can imagine, Harlan eagerly drank in every word. The following morning found him gone, having left his home to find a family.

To this day no one really knows what happened to Harlan of the Dark Wings during those travels. He never told a full accounting of any adventure he may have had along the way. What is known, however, is that after a voyage that lasted over a year in length, he returned to Venscha with a bride. Naphtala was a small and dainty dragon, the soft pink of her scales flushed like a sea shell, and the tinkle of her laughter like the lapping of gentle waves upon the shore, for she was a sea side dragon and had lived there with her family since birth.

 Soon after their return to Harlan’s village, Naphtala found herself expecting a child. The entire village began to prepare for a bouncing baby dragon, laying in extra supplies and making cute toys to be torn up upon the littlest protector’s arrival. In the course of the year, as is the way with our kind, the egg began to wiggle and wobble and squeak and so everyone gathered to await the newest member of the Sciathain family. What happened next, though, is so rare that no one could have predicted it. When the egg began to crack and pieces fell away to allow the new generation access to the world, three pairs of eyes were peering out at their parents.

Tumbling from the confines of their cramped egg first, Aithne rolled into view covered all over in scales the color of burning flames, earning her name immediately. Following soon after, though much more slowly than his sister, Glendower padded out into the world. Glen was covered in scales the color of softened sea glass, though that was not the first thing about him that people would notice. No, the first thing that people noticed about Glendower Sciathain was that he had a graceful neck, webbing between his claws, and he was growing what looked like leaves along his body.

Sometime within the chaos surrounding his brother’s arrival, Kenn quietly slid his way out the eggshell, his bright turquoise and deep green scales flashing in the sunlight. Kenn also sported webbed claws and a long, graceful neck, and he was growing what looked like seaweed along his scaling.

Though their parents and their village loved the triplets intensely, Naphtala fretted that something had gone wrong with her boys. While Aithne grew over the next few months, learning to duck, dodge, dive, and fly with ease, her brothers stayed smaller than average and found it more difficult to maneuver quickly. Finally, not understanding why two of her children looked so strange, and fearing for their health, Napthala convinced Harlan that they should once again desert their post as protectors in order to visit her family.

As they approached Naphtala’s family home, high on a cliff overlooking the vast ocean, the triplets caught their first view of the water. Following their mother’s joyous lead, the winglings swooped down the glide through the soft waters but only Naphtala and Aithne came back up to the air. Kenn and Glendower found that their webbed toes helped them maneuver in the water like they could never do in the air. Their odd ‘hair’ growths made perfect sense as they swam among the flora and fauna of the ocean floor, and though they could breathe quite well on land, the brothers had no problem under the waves.

Ecstatic in their newfound fun, the boys refused to leave the water, but followed their family to the shore below the Murdock family caverns. Seeing their grandchildren so easily swimming, Naphtala’s parents confessed to her that their family had come down from Seadans and Ocean Nymphs. Though it was a distant connection and no one had been called in generations, every so often a wingling would be born to live in the sea and protect its creatures.

Realizing that her sons were meant for a life in the water, Naphtala tearfully came to an understanding with her family. She and Harlan were needed in Venscha, and when the time was right Aithne would take over as the village protector, so the Murdocks would now be Kenn and Glen’s guardians. Promising to meet once a year at that exact shore, Naphtala and Harlan reluctantly kissed their sons goodbye and went on their way.

As the years passed on, Aithne, Glendower, and Kenn each found their own homes, their own mates, and had their own children, often spending all of their time in the deep waters far from shore. Such is the way of life. However, each year the ever growing family met on the shores of Murdoch cliff to celebrate the triumphs and mourn the losses of their time apart.

As happened to a lot of families, when the realms split apart some of the Sciathian and Murdock families were left wandering in the mortal oceans. Over the following years, Seadans and Sea Dragons thrived in Realta (the land of magics, whose name is translated Star) while finding it difficult to continue existing within the mortal realm. Eventually all but the smallest traces of the families were left here. Though you can still find a descendent or two, they are small and almost unrecognizable as proud members of the dragon family.

And that, children,” Grandmother Dragon paused to smile around the room, noting that only Alexianne and Joseph still had their eyes open, “Is how sea dragons came into existence. Now, close your eyes my little winglings, and dream of the ocean.”

When Inspiration Hits:

 

You sit down in your favorite spot, hot tea, pen, and pad at the ready, or with fingers poised over a waiting keyboard, AAAANNNNDDD…Nothing.  An hour passes, you’ve refilled your drink twice, had a snack, checked your three different email accounts, and written the same sentence fourteen and a half times.  Giving up, you decide that it isn’t going to happen today and wander off with disappointment. Later, as you change the baby’s dirty diaper or are elbow deep in soapy water, BA-BAM! Inspirations hits with vengeance and the entire novel/article/blog/etc. blossoms in your mind as well planned as an English garden; but wait, no pen and paper can be found.  NOW WHAT???!?!?!?  

 

Frustrated and frazzled you race to finish the task at hand in order to get back to writing before this amazing clarity fades. Alas! By the time you get there you are once again back to re-writing that same sentence.

So, are you supposed to just jump and run from the room, leaving a naked and confused tot or a sink full of soapy shards in your wake?  Probably not. My suggestion, then, is a simple one. Hire a stenographer to follow you around, waiting for inspiration to hit. Since you have to pay them whether or not that stroke of genius strikes, make sure to get detailed lists for groceries, birthday and Christmas presents, and anything else you might want to have listed out for convenience!

 

Or, you can do what I did; become addicted to colored pens and journals, make a habit of carrying paper and pen EVERYWHERE, keep a notepad and pen in each room, carry a recorder for those times when you can’t write it out (like when driving, apparently jotting down ideas while driving is frowned upon, who knew?), and then STILL get struck by your muse while in the only place and/or time where you don’t even have your cell phone available to sneak a quick shorthand text to yourself.

So, unless you have an eidetic memory, or the ability to ignore everyone and everything while repeating the story to yourself frantically as you hurriedly drop the world and scribble it out on napkins, you are now right back to that same exact sentence yet again.  The good news is that by now, that is one DOOZY of a sentence and maybe, just maybe, that sentence can help you to coax back out that splash of inspiration you stumbled into earlier.

 

Until next time, Have a Blessed Day and may your words, much like your inspiration, flow freely.