That's right.  I regret to inform you all, that my time on weebly is over.

Over the course of one year I poured my feelings out over this blog.  But alas and alack, the time has come to more on.  I remember the moment I started this blog - the thoughts of the first post were racing through my head faster than a speeding car chase.  It was a great day.  And a great year.

I have been stunned to see how much my writings have improved in just a short year.  But the one thing I'm still bummed about is my height.
Ah, well, I suppose that's life.

Fare friends of my blog, I don't know half of you half as well as I should, and half of you deserve a larger half of my knowledge than half of you have.

And now, my blog is officially closed, forever and always.

But hope is not lost, for a new blog has sprung up in the wake of an old one!  Please, come and take a look.

http://sunsetrising.blogspot.com/

There is the land where sunsets rise, and where raindrops fall up.

~R. A. H. Thacker
 
The Case of the Stalked Starlet

Written by Jamie, the winner of our short story contest!  

     When I went to church that Sunday morning, the last thing that I expected was for someone to be kidnapped after the worship service. However, on this particular Sunday, that was exactly what happened.

     Although I didn’t know it at the time, it had begun the previous Sunday. When I pulled in the parking lot that day, I noticed that there was a car parked there with California license plates. I didn’t think much of it at the time, but you tend to notice when a car from California is at a church in Ohio. At least, I tend to notice things like that. I should mention that my name is James Irons and I’m a private investigator.

     I walked inside and was surprised to see my friend Sally sitting in one of the pews. She was sitting with her two sisters and her aunt, who, along with their uncle, had adopted the three girls when Sally was thirteen. She was all grown up now and had moved to Los Angeles after her high school graduation to pursue her dream of being an actress. She definitely had the look for it. She was very pretty with long, black hair that hung midway down her back and brown eyes that shined like new pennies when the light hit them right. She also had the talent for it. Many people from the congregation, including myself, had come to see her in her various high school plays and musicals. Surprisingly, many of the high school actors and actresses were very talented, but of all the stars, Sally easily was the brightest.

     I walked up and said, “Hi, Sally! This is a surprise. I didn’t know that you were coming home.”

     She said, “Yeah, Uncle Don is really sick, so I thought it would be a good idea to come home and see him while the show’s on hiatus.”

     Most young, potential actresses who travel out to L.A. with dreams of fame and fortune usually don’t find it, but so far, Sally had done well for herself. After a few walk-on rolls in various television programs, Sally had been cast in a recurring character on a Disney show. With the right combination of talent and luck, she just might be able to use this role as a stepping stone towards bigger and better things.

     I said to her, “I’m sorry to hear about your uncle, but I’m glad to see you. How long are you home for?”

     She said, “At least a few weeks. The new season doesn’t begin shooting for a couple of months.”

     I could see that they were getting ready to begin the service, so I said, “I’m glad that you’ll be here for a little while anyway. I’ll talk to you after the service.”

     As I walked to my normal pew, it was then that I noticed the stranger sitting in the back row. He had a suntan, dark hair, blue eyes, and was at least a few years older than me. I always try to welcome new people so I made a mental note to talk to him after the service.

     When I did, I learned that he was from out of town. In fact, the car with the California license plates was his. He said his name was John and that he was from Los Angeles. He was in town to visit friends and decided to go to church while he was here. I welcomed him and told him that I was glad that he had come and then went on my way.

     The next week, his car was in the parking lot again when I arrived. I walked in and found him sitting in the back row again. I told him that I was glad he came back. He said that he was still visiting and that he had enjoyed the service so much the week before that he wanted to come back. Coincidentally, Sally was also there again.

     After the service, I went about the process of greeting people like I always did. Lots of people were glad to see Sally and made a point to talk to her while she was there. Apparently, she was going out to eat afterwards because I overheard her tell her family to go ahead and get a table and that she would drive herself there in a little bit after she was done talking. It seemed a little odd to me that John from California was hanging around even though very few people had spoken to him, but I figured maybe he wanted to talk to the pastor or something a was waiting for everybody else to clear out.

     Before I could leave, an old lady named Patty asked if I could carry some things upstairs for her for the rummage sale the church was going to have in a couple of weeks. I said yes, but when I got to her car, I was surprised to see that it was so full of stuff that there was barely any room for her. It made me wonder how she had packed it in the first place and, for that matter, how she had managed to drive here with so many things obstructing her view. It was going to take a while to unpack the car and take everything upstairs, but I had already said that I would so I just had to grin and bear it.

     After a little while, the only cars left in the parking lot were mine, Sally’s, Patty’s, the pastor’s, and California John’s. Sally was talking with Patty while John was having a conversation the pastor. I had made several trips upstairs with my arms full and was putting the latest load away when I heard the scream. I looked out of the window of the storage room so that I could see the parking lot and was horrified to see John from California grabbing Sally from behind with his hand clamped over her mouth and nose. In his hand, he was holding a rag and I had a sneaky suspicion that it was doused with chloroform.

     I ran out of the upstairs room as fast as I could, tripping over the junk that had piled up several times as I did. I took the stairs two at a time and arrived outside just in time to see Patty faint and John throw Sally’s limp body into the backseat of his car. The pastor, who was elderly himself, was standing there with a shocked look on his face, not knowing what to do. John got in his car and tore out of the parking lot with his tires screeching.

     My arrival seemed to break the pastor out of his trance. I yelled to him, “See if Patty’s ok and call 911. I’m going after them.”

     I jumped into my car and took off in hot pursuit of John and Sally. In my line of work, I had been in a few car chases and using my skills that I had learned previously, I caught up to them in no time. I reached for my cell phone and tried to call 911, myself. Unfortunately, the church that I attended was out in the country and so was the road that we were now driving on. That meant a lack of cell towers, so I was unable to even get a signal. I spit out a curse and threw my useless cell phone into the passenger’s seat.

     I took great pains to stay close enough to John so that I could see him, yet far enough back so that I didn’t arouse his suspicions or cause him to panic. Sally’s safety was my main concern. Unfortunately, I didn’t know what I was going to do if I had to confront John, because I didn’t carry my Colt .45 to church with me. Even though I had my concealed carry permit, I didn’t think it was a good idea to bring a gun to church. Some members of the congregation had enough of a problem with me already because I, on occasion, had to kill someone in the line of duty. I didn’t want to ruffle their feathers any more than I already had, but right now I would give anything for the comfort the Colt brought me.

     Eventually, John’s car pulled through a rusted gate and went up a long driveway that led to what appeared to be an abandoned farmhouse. I drove on past and decided to double back so that he didn’t realize that I had followed him. At the next turn, I parked my car by the side of the road and crept back towards the farmhouse.

     By the time I got back to the farmhouse, John had already carried Sally inside. I stood at the gate looking at the front door. I had an awful, foreboding feeling in my gut as I wondered what John’s motivations were and what he had planned for Sally. I tried my cell phone again. I still got no reception. I had to decide the best course of action and decide quickly.

     On one hand, I knew where he was holding her. I could drive around until I got a signal and call the police. However, God only knew what was going to happen in the meantime. Also, by the time they got there, it might be too late. On the other hand, I could go in there and try to rescue her myself. I had experience in this sort of thing and maybe my experience could pull me through. However, if I went into that house, I was walking into the unknown and I was unarmed. I had no way of knowing the layout of the house or what weapons John might have. If I went in there by myself I could easily get myself killed and end any chance Sally had of being rescued. I could also get her killed in the process. I didn’t know what to do.

     I closed my eyes and prayed. I prayed for God to guide me on the right course of action. In that moment, it all seemed to become clear to me. Maybe you are a believer like me or maybe you’re a skeptic. Maybe, like me, you believe the hand of God was guiding me or maybe you think it was just my macho ego deciding for me. What is important is that somehow, I knew that Sally didn’t have much time. I couldn’t waste a moment trying to find cell reception. If she was getting out of that house alive, I had to be the one to save her and I had to do it now. I summoned up all my courage and approached the front door.

     I was on guard as I entered the house, ready to hit anything that moved. I moved as quietly as I could, searching through the darkness for Sally. It was a two-story house. The downstairs had a living room, what used to be a kitchen, a bedroom and a bathroom. I crept from room to room, but found no sign of Sally or John. They had to be upstairs.

     I started to climb up the stairs as slowly and as quietly as I possibly could. It was an old wooden staircase and I was afraid that one of the boards was going to creak and give me away. Miraculously, I made it to the top of the stairs without making a sound. When I reached the top of the stairs, I saw a glow coming from one of the upstairs bedrooms. I approached the open door and carefully looked inside.

     Inside, the room was filled with lighted candles. There was a champagne bucket in the corner that was filled with ice and a bottle of champagne chilling in it. Was this John’s idea of romantic? Most importantly, I saw Sally. She was sitting in an old wooden armchair. Each wrist was tied to the corresponding arm of the chair. Similarly, each ankle was tied to the corresponding front leg of the chair. Her eyes were open and she was moving her head, telling me that the chloroform had worn off. There was a strip of duct tape over her mouth, keeping her from yelling. Although she was bound, she seemed unharmed.

     John was nowhere to be seen, but I knew he was lurking around somewhere. Maybe I could get her untied and out of there before he returned. I started towards her, holding my finger over my mouth indicating that she should be quiet. The look in her eyes told me she understood. Then, the look turned to horror. Too late, I realized John was behind me. He had the champagne bottle in his hand and bashed me over the head with it. The bottle didn’t break, but the blow knocked me to my knees.

     I thought to myself, “Stupid, stupid, stupid! You should have taken him out first and then came back for Sally.”

     My self-assessment was right. I should have dealt with John first, but seeing Sally tied up like that did something to me. I couldn’t stand to see her like that. All that I could think about in that moment was getting her out of there. I had been sloppy and now it seemed like we would both pay for my mistake.

     He struck me with the champagne bottle again. Again, it didn’t break. This blow knocked me face-first to the floor and left me seeing stars. My head was spinning. Desperately, I tried to raise myself up. He rained a third blow down on the back of my head with the champagne bottle. This time the bottle shattered and as it did, my world turned to blackness.

     I don’t know how long I was unconscious, but it couldn’t have been too long. When I came to, I was in a heap on the floor where John had left me. My head was wet from a mixture of champagne and blood. I could feel a gash on the back of my head. I didn’t know how bad it was, but it felt as wide as the Grand Canyon. My head was pounding. I felt dizzy, nauseous, and my vision was blurry. I was certain that I had a concussion. I was just lucky that he hadn’t finished me off when he had me down. Who knows, maybe he thought I was already dead.

     I was aware of John standing in front of me. He was so fixated on Sally that he wasn’t paying any attention to me. He was talking to Sally. I strained, trying to gather my wits about me enough to understand what he was saying.

     He said, “I knew we were meant to be together. From the moment, I first saw you on tv, I knew you were the one. You’re always so nice and friendly on tv, not like all those other girls. That’s why I started following you. I followed from the studio to your apartment. Then I started following you every day. I would follow you from your apartment to the studio and back. It always made me feel so good when I saw you. I knew I had to ask you out, but there were always people around and I was too shy. That’s why I followed you here from California. I thought maybe here, away from everybody, I could actually get up the courage to talk to you. Then, it happened. Last week, you said hi to me at church. I was so happy! But there were still too many people around. I couldn’t say anything back. That’s why I brought you here. I found this place this week. Isn’t it perfect? Not another person around for miles. I had it all planned out. If I could just get you alone and tell you how much I loved you, I just knew you’d fall in love with me too.”

     This guy was a lunatic. He was an obsessed fan, who had fallen in love with the character Sally played on tv. God only knew what he expected her response to be when he professed his “love’ for her. I was terrified of what he might do, if she didn’t respond the way he wanted.

     I wasn’t going to have to wait long for her response. He said, “Darling, is there something you want to tell me? Hold on, let me remove the duct tape.”

     After he pulled off the duct tape, Sally remained silent. I don’t know what he thought that meant, but he leaned in to kiss her. As he did, she called him a freak, spit in his face and head-butted him in the nose, causing blood to splurt out.

     This was not what he expected. He backhanded her across the face, calling her a terrible name as he did. He screamed, “I thought you were different! You’re just like all the rest! You think you’re too pretty, too perfect for a guy like me! Well, I’ll fix that. Once I’m done with you, you’ll never want to show your face in public again!”

     With that, he produced a huge knife. He pointed the blade at Sally’s face and started to move towards her. He was going to maim her!

     She screamed and cried, “Please. Don’t. Don’t hurt me. I’m sorry.”

     With a sinister smile, he said, “Oh, you’re sorry now? Well, not as sorry as you’re about to be.”

     I had to do something. The trouble was, my brains were scrambled. I wasn’t even sure that I could make it to my feet. Even if I did, I was no match for him in this condition. What could I do?

     Sally screamed again. In a mocking voice, he said, “Hold still little girl, this might hurt”

     That was it. I couldn’t stand any more. I pulled my senses together as best I could and mustered all the strength I had left in my body. I scrambled to my feet and launched myself at him, tackling him from behind. Simultaneously, I grabbed for the wrist of the hand that held the knife and, with my last ounce of strength, forced it upward towards his chest. I must have caught him by surprise, but the momentum from my tackle sent us both falling forward as I forced his knife hand upward, which caused him to stab himself right through the heart. We landed in a heap on the floor which pushed the knife even deeper into his chest. We lay there on the floor like that for a moment with him lying face down and me face down on top of him and then a pool of blood began to form under him. He was dead.

     The physical effort had made the room start spinning again and I could see black around the edges of my vision. I looked up at Sally and said, “I’ll be right with you. I’ve just got to rest for a minute.” Then, the blackness enveloped me again.

     When I came to again, Sally was still tied up and John was still dead. I pulled myself together enough to realize I had to get her untied before I passed out again. The quickest way to do that was to cut the ropes and the only utensil I had to do that was John’s knife. I rolled him over and yanked the knife out of his chest. I made my way to my knees and cut the ropes on her ankles first. Then, I managed to get to my feet and I cut the ropes on her wrists. I dropped the knife and she stood up and hugged me tight. I was still pretty wobbly and she nearly knocked me down. I leaned on her and she wrapped her arm around me.

     As we walked out of the room, she looked back at John. She said, “Wow. My first obsessed fan. Maybe I don’t want to be an actress after all.”

     I didn’t know what to say about that, so I left it alone. I told her where I had parked my car and handed her the keys. I quipped, “I think you had better drive. I had too much champagne.”

     She smiled and helped me down the stairs and out of the house. The walk to the car seemed like miles, but we made it. She helped me into the passenger seat and drove us to the hospital.

     We both got checked out. She had not really been hurt as I had taken John out before he could touch her beautiful face with his knife. I, on the other hand, had a big gash on the back of my head that took several stitches to close up. I also had, as suspected, a concussion for which they kept me 24 hours for observation.

     Sally picked me up and drove me home the next day. On the way, she told me that after she had been abducted, the pastor had called 911 and gotten the police for her and an ambulance for Patty. Patty was ok; the shock had just caused her to faint. She said, “I’m ok too, thanks to you.”

     I just smiled at her and said, “What are friends for?”

 
The car door clapped, sending a jarring ring through my head, as I hopped out of my distinguishable gold car and shut the door behind me.  My dad popped open the trunk, and and hefted my heavy, but rather small, red backpack and sleeping bag out of the trunk, but swept around to face an approaching person from behind.  I plastered on a smile as the familiar Executive Director hailed me.
       - Very, very light based off of The Adventures of The Second Year.  (That is, my second year at this church camp)

Okay, I was a bit nervous from excitement, but plastered isn't the right word if I was to write it as close to the truth as I could.  But nervous from excitement was true (and nervous for others reasons too - I'm not the most social guy on earth).  I was stoked to be on this adventure - another season of my life - another road worth traveling (to quote one of the songs we sang).

Now, I did quite a good deal of things before this happened, such as meeting and getting to know the others that would be in my cabin (getting the last of the top bunk beds), and getting situated in our cabin (which was called Wissahickon, and was technically two cabins, boys' and girls' side).  After we played a series of name games, we did a few other procedures (checking with the nurse for any medications we'd need, etc.) but that's all pretty boring to read about.  So I'll skip to the first time my blood would really pumping that week.

Darkness overshadowed us as we hiked through the woods.  We numbered close to a dozen, my cabin and I.  The details as to where we were going I do not remember, as it was late at night.  I was last in line.
I stepped over on a wet rock and slipped, falling back and crushing my skull on a hard rock.
Or, that's what I thought it was.  But you can't always remember exactly what it was in dreams.
Yes, it was a dream.  But instead of that cliche and awfully aggravating movie prank of 'it was all a dream', and find out that none of it was real, it was real.
I woke up to feel my head wracking with pain that corrupted my senses.  This time, it was real.  It felt like my head was rattling around in my (apparently) very thick skull.  All I could do was moan as I heard a voice reach out to me.  Something about "are you okay?"  I struggled up, sitting on the edge of the bottom bed of the bunk.
Finally, I was able to respond to my councilor who had spoken to me.  I hardly remember what I said - I think I did.  Bu t . . . how could I remember anything?  I fell about five feet onto a solid as rock surface.  I grasped my head in my arms.  The pain that I felt seemed to blot itself out - but it was there, like a monster controlling me.


       - Much more realistically based on the true events of The Adventures of the Second Year.

My cabinmates told me it woke them all up.  The thump.
The councilor was going to take me to the nurse then, but in 5 minutes most of the pain had gone away and I lay staring at the roof with a major headache - reflecting on what had happened.  (And no, I was in the bottom bunk, I got back up, despite having entirely rolled off the low sided bed.  But as time wore on, as the night wore on, and as I continued to stare at the roof, I felt my eye lids grow heavy.  I struggled to stay awake, but unless I am doing something besides staring at the roof, sleep has won victory over victory.  So I clutched the shallow sides of the bed with my sleepy strength, and finally surrendered after close to an hour of watching the roof - and listening the horrendous fan go: "knock, knock . . . . knock . . . . knock, knock," in a horrible fashion (though by the end of the week, I found myself used to it and I cried.  Just kidding).
When I awoke, I was still grasping them.

Day 1 Moral:  Never take the top bunk of a bed if you have ever had a dream in your life that deja vue'd upon you.
Day 1 Moral #2:  Don't take it anyway.
Day 1 Interesting Fact:  This is the second time I easily could have had a concussion, yet evaded it somehow (I must have a hard skull.  Either that or a brain that won't get easily bruised. :P)

The rest of the week?  That flew by in a blur.  I had arrived Sunday, and on Tuesday we climbed the climbing tower (what else would you do with it, eh?).  And after that, we participated in the very unnerving "Giant Swing".  After being harnessed in, you were raised probably 30 or 40 feet high, and with a bungee cord stretching to your right on a tree, and an identical one on the left, one of the cords was let go, and I took a free fall before speeding through the air in a crazy speed.  As those before me had done, I let out a scream.  Although honestly, it was more of a shout of excitement, even while we were supposed to sound like little kids being scared out of their hair, eyebrows, and pants.
(Speaking of hair, I did not just get a mohawk, which was later shaved down to a buzz cut.  It did NOT happen . . . . . . . . . I think I'm still in the denial stage of how much different I look than I'm used to.)

The days continued to pass faster than I wished they would.  And while I was there only four full days (5 nights) it felt a lot longer.  And as an official as official note can get . . .
. . .
ALL OF MY CABINMATES WERE AWESOME.

And I realize I just broke a lot of grammatical rules there - but I don't care, those guys in my cabin are worth it. ;)

And yes, if you're reading this Michael, I'll find a way to get you in one of my book sometime.

And besides my actual cabinmates, I met a lot of other awesome people, even a couple from last year.

Wednesday we took a hike.
Up a mountain.

I took the hardest path, that, while it was the shortest, we were the last in arriving, for their were two other trails I could have taken.  The others left 40+ minutes before us, and so once we got going at last, we really started making headway.  Kinda.

We were going straight - I mean straight up the mountain.  My legs felt like shrapnel by the time we reached the time.  Little did I know (or many of the other campers) that we were hardly done.  We took about another fifteen minutes before stopping at a rockpile site where we ate our packed lunches (poor councilors and other staff members took the load) and then head off again.  We were going along the crest of the mountain, for while the other two trails took varying paths up the mountain that slowly advanced up and forward toward the destination at the same time, we had not.  For marching straight up the mountain does prove to not get you sideways very far.

And walking along the ridge crest was the worst part, because it was extremely rocking forcing you to take awkward steps and nearly trip yourself up.  It felt like I had triple twisted each of my ankles thrice by the end.  Several of the others had fallen, water was running short (I had conserved my water from the start of camp, because I forgot a water bottle and only managed to get one of those small, not-meant-for-hiking plastic bottles), temper was running short, and most of us were a bit annoyed (not to mention dripping sweat).

I had a good time, though I wouldn't have said that with such enthusiasm at that time.  So once we reached the top of the mountain, we camped up there for the night.  That was awesome.  They served tortillas for supper, and 'Darn Goods' for midnight snack (awesome camp tradition).  And we also acted out a skit after supper.  That... was alright.  But I was a door. >.<

Anyway, all throughout the week it was fun singing (yeah, I have to admit it), but the singing fun-ness may have pinnacled there.  I don't know - it was all great.

They read Alice In Wonderland that night as we watched the sky from beneath our sleeping bags - but  I fell asleep halfway through.  I tried to stay awake though, because never before had I heard the story of Alice in Wonderland.  Shall I ever?... probably.
I saw a shooting star also, making it the second time from the top of Tussey mountain.

More to come,
~Robert WordWeaver
 
Nigh a month back, I entered a script writing contest through Creation Works, a group of friends and homeschoolers dedicated to, "use creation evangelism to build the faith of believers and challenge the non-believer to consider the truth of God's word."

This script contest, to write an audio drama script, was to be based on the creation message in the Bible.

I wrote my script in several weeks time, and honestly, didn't expect to win.

To be frank . . .  (and spoil ALL that great drama I could work up in you)

I did.  First place grand prize winner.

Which means . . .

I get my own audio drama made for me.  Hehe. :)

MY script is being made into an audio drama . . .

I'm mindblown.

http://creationworks.net/WritingContest.html

There it is.  The cold, hard, PROOF.

And now, because I really don't want to be boastful or nuttin' like that, I'll do a little advertising for CreationWorks.  :)

___________________________________________________________________

Sent off to his uncle’s farm, Zac clashes left and right with his cousin 
Penelope as they grow a mutual dislike for each other, even while Zac is 
slowly discovering the truth of creation embedded in nature for himself.  
But is his dislike for Penelope enough to drive him away from God 
completely?

___________________________________________________________________

Aaand, if you live in California (or don't mind spending several hundred on air tickets!) you could be a star (this is gonna be big ya know, you'll be seeing my name EVERYWHERE in a couple years ;)

But in all seriousness (you realize that some of that was a joke, right?  It's hard to tell when someone's joking over a blog post...), please, check out CreationWorks.net, when time comes, find the audio drama (A Search for Truth, is it's name) and listen to it.

(Oh, and yes, I finally am back from camp, but I have just procrastinated from blogging until I could fully send out all this information to you all, and yes, I will be blogging about my camp adventures.  The pleasant ones, and the not so pleasant ones . . . like nearly getting a concussion.)

Let thy fingers upon keyboards fly,
 ~ Robert WordWeaver
 
Well, as some of you know, I started a second short story contest a while back.  The winner would receive a signed print edition of The Traitors Tale.  The second place winner would receive an ebook of The Traitors Tale.  The competition was to write a short story.

So now that it's two days after I meant to announce the winners, I shall.

In first place comes... (I'll simply use his first name for his privacy) Jamie's short story, The Case of the Stalked Starlet; an intriguing "James Irons" story that hooked me on paragraph one.


And in second place comes... (I'll simply use his pseudo name) Raptor's short story, about an elite police force unit in Rangiora, New Zealand that ended with an unusual twist.


Congratulations to our winners!
And of course, they'll be receiving their prizes in time.

Unfortunately, it will be a week's delay (since I'm venturing off to church camp).

Well, that wraps up this post.  I will have something quite interesting in my next few posts.  Watch out for it, they're coming at ya.

~Robert WordWeaver
 
To be an outliner, or to be a pantster? (technically, if actually Pantser, but I chose to use a seat of the pants spin of my own).
To plan?  To write whatever?
To think intensely through every microscopic detail?  To spontaneously erupt?

It's hard to outline, very hard.  Many, many times, I feel the urge to drop the outline for the moment and start writing - I can come back to the outline later, can't I?
WRONG.
If I create a plot mistake halfway through the outline and don't realize it, what's the point of writing an outline?

If I'm writing a seat of the pants novel, I will only have a rough idea of what will happen next in my novel.  I make a mistake?  I rewrite the novel (or a chapter or two accordingly).

I, myself, outline.  But it's debated on just about every writer's forum, every writer's circle, every place where an outliner and a pantster clash.

So which is better?  Outlining or Seat-of-the-pants writing?  
(Best way to do this is Pro's and Con's style, wot?)

Outlining
Pros:
1. You'll have an 'adventure guide' to help you through the more difficult parts of the novel.
Any place you are stuck in, you'll have a helping hand to pull you out.  (Or, relating to my last post, if supposed 'Writer's Block' snags you, your outline is the prime option to save you from disaster).
2. If you plan your novel, you will be adding to an already good storyline as you write, rather than making it all up as you write.
3. Your outline is the best way to find gaping holes in your plot, and can therefore be worked out.

And now for the Cons:
1. Supposedly, outlining constricts your creativity (we'll get back to this in a bit).
2. Outlining is excruciating work and will leave you brain dead for at least 48 hours. (I'm just kidding!)
3. For some, they feel an outline constricts their creativity while actually writing the novel.

Seat-of-the-Pantsing
Pros:
1. Having the entire novel to be wildly creative is just fun.  Awesome.  And inspiring.
2. You can explore whatever idea pops into your head.
3. You can write tons - real fast.

Cons:
1. The likelihood of your first draft (or, for that matter, 2nd and 3rd draft) being strong material is microscopical.  Meaning - it's not too likely.
2. In writing high fantasy, there is almost no way you can seat of the pants without a good deal of outlining and planning (which makes it not seat of the pants).  After all, if you seat of the pants a magical rule on page 34, it's still going to have ramifications on page 3,973, meaning - your hero can't defeat your antagonist because that would be defying the magic rule!
3. Pantstering leaves you vulnerable to the snapping teeth and jaws of our imaginary friend- that is, imaginary nemesis, Writer's Block.

So... what is best?  Well, just like every other blog post or article about this style of writing, I'm going to say whatever works for you is the best.

But.  This isn't the end of this post.  Oh no, we have more to discuss.
Do people who use outlines really not where pants when they outline?  For me, in this instance, it's true... because I'm wearing shorts.
Okay, okay, enough with this joking.

In the cons list of outlining, one of the cons I put down was that outlines constrict creativity.
To some, this is true.  But the truth is, having an outline keeps you in the borders of sanity - and realism.
How can the space monkey from Jupiter appear in chapter 5 when it was clear the Hero Rabbit was the only one Sunny Zoney and Freddy Fibonacci were able to Teliwire???

An outline will keep you from writing that mess, so that later on, you won't have to rewrite the whole chapter.

Okay, so does this mean that con isn't really a con?

To some extent, yes.
But the Pantster side does have legitimate concern for an outline (often of a fantasy story) being TOO detailed, thus instead making our Adventure Guide into a Math Lesson.  Or better - a chemistry one.

A Base Positive NEVER reacts social biologically with a N Negative, because hippopotamus is spelled with only one S! Great Golly, you kids never learn!

See what I mean?  No?  Neither did I...

Anyway.  So just how much should you outline?

This is an example that I've begun with.

- The Indians from the Great Lake Regions are living peacefully, until one day a once great tribe, the sworn enemies of the Iroquois, flee to the Iroquois pleading honestly for a treaty.  The Iroquois hold council, and finally decide to do so, after finding what their enemy tribe had fled from.  The white settlers were coming - white skins!

That's just one chapter in the style outline I prefer (and an original WordWeaver method, ;) although, someone else probably came up with it before me without I knowing it).

So, now that we've gotten nowhere with this post, you can see why I prefer outlining - this post, after all, was written without any pants. ;)

~Robert WordWeaver
 
What is "Writer's Block"?

What is it that haunts writers, young and old alike?

For some, it's just plain laziness, which in truth would be procrastination (which, if you hear me through, you will find is actually harder to vanquish that Writer's Block.)

But laziness isn't what we label "Writer's Block".  In fact, it's much easier to overcome your Writer's Block than it is to overcome your unwillingness to write (which is what we call procrastination).

In fact, there is little difference between Writer's Block and Procrastination, when you come down to it.  They both have the same cure - and while it won't do the Block and its Sidekick in forever, it will work ever time you confront Writer's Block or Procrastination.

What is it?  Well, I guess it's time to reveal the secret (that isn't so secret).

Planning.  Outlining.  Plotting.  Whatever you want to call it - do it.  It's the only cure that will get you out of a hole quickly and without a lot of time wasted (heh, not to say this is an EASY way.  There's no easy shortcut to anything in writing, really).

The other methods of defeating "Writer's Block" and Procrastination is to "just write", to "sit down and just write".  I find this inadequate for me (not to say it's bad if you do it this way, but I see it as extra work).

The truth of it is, when you force yourself to write, the work will be forced, and will clearly show itself to be forced.  I cannot read that kind of writing, it just makes me go insane (which is why I write slowly on the first draft, though you'll see my moments when I write like a mad man - and virtually burn my keyboard ;)

Writer's Block isn't EASY to overcome, but if you feel intimidated by the saying "just write" (that I'm sure you've heard at least once before if you read other things related to this subject) then this way is, I believe, simpler.

Remember, Writer's Block is only what you crank it up to be.  If you know what to write, you can write it any time with or without "Writer's Block".

Okay, so maybe you don't think you're very good at outlining.  Well, you'll want to see my next post if you are in that mind set.

~Robert WordWeaver
 
As I said in my last post, 2,000 words is the approximate maximum for your entry.  But, if you don't want to write that much, or near that much, it's perfectly fine.  You could enter a poem, or a song, just so long as it's original. :)

And I forgot to add, if you're going to participate in the contest, please email me here:  scoutofdunnwood@gmail.com

And now we get onto other things.  Which includes guess what... writing!  That... that wasn't a surprise?  Oh well.

Yesterday, June 18th 2013 I did something... :O  Okay, forget the dramatization.  I finally got back to writing the Book of Red Binding.  Taras' tale was on the verge of getting out of the initial rut in writing a novel, when I stopped.  Probably about 2 months were spent staying away from the tale, because to be honest, I didn't like Taras.

For one, he was a stuck up bullheaded brat (and because he's my character, he can't do anything about me revealing the truth about him in public... though he wouldn't really care).

And for a second reason, during the beginning, I wanted to set in a concrete foundation what he looks like from everyone else's perspective - a stuck up bullheaded brat.

But now that I'm finally out of that initial stage, I can delve into who Taras really is.  He has his weaknesses, his strengths.  But more than that, he's not perfect and do you know what not perfect spells?  Human.

There is no human (besides Jesus Christ) who is perfect.  And that, of course, must be carried into a fictional world if it's to be realistic.

And I see I just led myself down a rabbit hole.  Back on topic.

Taras is not perfect, but in truth - inside his very heart, he's not a stuck up bullheaded brat.  That's just a covering, a mask.  The people around him believe that's what he is, and if the reader knows at least some of that, it's not only interesting, but it's realistic to find that he isn't all what he makes himself up to be.

Well, that's where I'm at in the Book of Red Binding.  I'm finally showing who Taras really is - not the mask he wears, but who he is in his heart.

~The WordWeaver
 
It's a give away day, because The Traitors Tale is having a give away.

One signed print copy of The Traitors Tale will be given to the Grand Prize winner.

But that's not all.  The Second place winner (or, if the first place winner cannot or wishes not to reveal his/her address) will receive a copy of The Traitors Tale in any digital format.  (Think of these words as in the voice of a flashy salesman, 'kay?)
(Forgive the Click to Look Inside, hehe)

Buuut, now we come to how you become the Grand Prize winner.

Your Mission:  Write a short story of varying length but below 2,000 words (a few hundred words more is acceptable).  It can be just about anything, any genre, any style, First, Third, or even Second person point of view.  (Though I suggest third or first, because second is a very odd way to write.)

Send it in to me through this email by July 10th, 11:59, EST.  scoutofdunnwood[AT]gmail[DOT]com.

The winner will be announced July 11th.

As a side note, I am not a schemer, plotter, or cunning evil tyrant who's trying to lighten your purse or wallet - as could be found within the pages of The Traitors Tale, although, I should think you'd find something far worse than cutpurses.

And as a SERIOUS side note, shipping and handling will be paid for the print copy as well.

Remember, a free signed copy of The Traitors Tale will be delivered to the Grand Prize winner's mailbox (literally!) - all expenses paid.  That's about 12 U.S. Dollars. :O

And if you don't get first or second place, you still get a prize.  This wonderful post by me!  (I am so sorry... so anticlimactic... probably lost all my readers with that...)

Write Happily, The WordWeaver.

Disclaimer:  Damage in shipping is not the fault of the WordWeaver or his associates - please do not sue.
 
One year ago on this very day, May 29th 2012, I started my blog.
WOW.
I have 11 pages of posts.
WOW.
And, actually, my website was started May 25th 2012, my blog (here) was one year ago today.
WOW.

I am HYPERVENTILATING!!!!!!!!!
(blink blink)
WOW.
I have so many memories - memories of typing up my first post - memories of first starting my blog - memories of clambering ideas to form my first blog post.
Granted, most of my older posts hardly made sense.  But still, they count for something, no?

I was sitting on an old tracker, mowing around a spot of garden in my backyard, the sun was fading behind the trees, the creek was just to my left, followed by the church...
Memories bring back a lot of emotions.  Some are good, some are bad.  I always feel nostalgia, though.  It's kinda funny.

And, as celebration of one year, I'm having another contest.  This one, however, will have a reward.  Tomorrow morning... I shall be announcing something awesome.  You can count on it.

~The WordWeaver