FLASH FICTION - THE CREATURE'S PIPING SONG

Saturday, February 18, 2017
Happy Saturday, everyone!

If you haven't already figured out from the title... I'M SHARING SOME FLASH FICTION TODAY! Flash fiction is a story under 1,000 words. I've done some in the past on the blog, and it's a fun exercise to get away from all the novel writing once in awhile.

This flash fiction is a Pied Piper retelling in space.

Though I had to rewrite this story multiple times, I'm really happy with how it turned out. I hope you enjoy -- I'd love to hear what you think. :D

[I also posted it on Wattpad, so if that's your thing, you can go read The Creature's Piping Song here.]


I arrived without a sound. Without terror, without threat. I meant the humans no harm, though the horrified looks on their faces portrayed otherwise.

The captain jolted. The officers gasped. Everyone froze as I stood there -- the foreign alien -- tentacles floating carelessly above my head.

Beep, went their maintenance systems. It went off steadily, unlike the crew's breathing and heartbeats. I sensed their fear. I sensed their desire to run. To destroy me -- to be a hero and save themselves.

So I acted before it was too late. I raised my hands -- isn't that what the humans do to look innocent?

A roach crept along the floor, pausing to glance at me.

I just wanted to help. I just wanted to know what it was like to be one of them.

"What do you want?" the captain growled. I felt his nerves, his thoughts, thinking that I meant to kill them. That I was nothing more than a killing beast, here to destroy them all.

I twisted my hand, gazing upon it with curiosity. My dark skin was cracked, covered with scales. Sharp, angled claws protruded through the stubby tips of my fingers.

Is this what terror looks like?

"I want to help," I said. But they didn't understand. Human minds are small. My words sounded nothing more than a garbled mess of angry snarls, that their minds translated to, "DEATH IS NEAR!"

I watched as hands crept toward weapons.

Am I that easy to kill? I wondered. Is my image that revolting?

My eyes closed. My tentacles twisted and formed and melded together. I allowed myself to relax.

I played my song. Quietly at first, and then louder, letting it float its way to the corners of the room, under the floor, into the ship's operating systems.

I called for the roaches.

It didn't take much for me to find out about the ship's infestation problem. The worry hung in all their thoughts -- the realization that the space roaches were slowly destroying their ship, along with the passengers inside.

I called, and the roaches came. They slipped through the cracks in the floor. They wormed their way out of broken wires and compartments. They all came to me.

As the roaches followed, I did what any other human would do -- I announced a price. Sketching the number, I scratched the floor with a claw, sending a sharp, grating sound into the air.

Seven thousand. That was my price.

The captain's mind was slow, and he muddled over this for a moment. His brow hardened when he finally put everything together. I could hear his thoughts as he stared at me with a firm expression. This creature wants me to pay it for taking our roaches? Human money?

Creature. Is that all I am?

The captain nodded. "Rid the ship of the roaches. The money is yours."

I bent to the floor, song quieting. The roaches gazed at me, patient, waiting for my command. My body pulsed; the power inside increased. I raised my arms, forming a circle with my looping tentacles. I created a dark portal, leading into the empty void of space.

The roaches skittered inside. I looked up to see the crew staring at me, mouths open and eyes wide.

I took a bow. I rid them of their roaches. This is what they wanted, and now they had to understand. Now they had to see me as an equal.

The captain shied away as I held my hand to him, outstretched for the payment. "Go," he hissed. "You have no use for men's money. Leave while there is no problem between us."

The curves on my scales lifted. He meant to go back on his deal. He meant to betray me.

But how -- after what I had done? I saved their ship and their lives.

The captain stood, arms crossed, glare pinpointed on my yellow eyes. "Go," he repeated, and I knew there was no changing his mind.

Just as I arrived, I left without a sound. One moment I was there, the next I wasn't. Instead I watched their ship from a corner of space.

There, in my corner, I fumed. I raged. Roars rose from my throat, and hatred burned deep in my soul.

What did I do wrong to be treated like this?

Was I really nothing more than a creature to them? Easy to push around and ordered what to do?

Fine.

I shuddered as my body flexed. Spikes released, claws sharpened, my melody intensified.

If they refused to treat me as an equal, then I would rise above their puny minds and souls. I would unleash my power.

I would show them what it's like to be ignored and rejected.

I hurled myself to their ship. This time I arrived with many sounds. Loud, crashing notes of song, screeching in their ears. Revenge -- that's what I felt as they screamed and writhed.

"AM I THAT MEANINGLESS? IS IT THAT HARD TO TREAT ME AS AN ALLY IN THE GALAXY?" I screamed this in their faces, though they could not understand.

I took my place at the front of the ship -- exactly where I had placed myself before. I went silent.

The crew went silent. Their faces reflected pale, white creatures.

Creatures that refused to pay my price.

My eyes closed, and I gifted the crew one, final performance. The melody rose, but this time I did not take roaches. Instead I took those who still yet didn't know the cruel ways of this universe. I took those with small minds I might be able to change.

The cadets -- the young officers. They followed my song's commands and marched into the portal.

And I walked after them, with the desire to teach proper manners of the galaxy, and the intent to never return.

I arrived without a sound.

I left with distant echoes of my piping song.

- - -
<3,
katie grace

thanks for reading!! hope you enjoyed. <3

PLOT PROBLEMS + EDITING WOES

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Welcome to Storytime With Katie, where I will proceed to ramble and describe this week's editing events.

Enjoy.


It's hard to love your story.
Sometimes, it's hard to like or even tolerate it, especially when it's basically the very definition of disaster in novel form. I've been there for the past several months. I've pushed through the doubts and the worries and continued to work on my "horrible, terrible, no-good" manuscript. The thought of sending it to beta readers sent me into denial. 

I knew there was some (though it was small) potential in this story, but the potential refused to show on the page. Which then left me despairing each time I tried to attack it with my editing skills. (this problem definitely didn't help with my annoyance for editing xD) I basically turned into gollum and screamed, "WE HATESSS THE PRECIOUSSS," with every attempt at editing.

So, finally, after hours and hours of editing and not seeing much progress... I realized it was time to do something about this catastrophe. Throughout my time in the writing world, I've heard the idea of other writers making a list of reasons why they love their story. Why not give it a try?

I knew that my list might be rather small... but I went for it anyways. (spoiler alert: the list was indeed very small). I mean, why not try to create some love for my novel? But as I sat down to do this exercise, I came up with only three, simple bullet points of love. (and they all had to do with characters or things I already established in the first novel.)

*cries*

BUT THIS WASN'T GOING TO STOP ME. I was going to make this story work.

So I crossed out the tiny list of things I loved about my story, and instead titled a new list: what I hate about my story.

(yes, this was harsh, and looking back I could've alternatively titled it, "what needs to be worked on" or "what I can fix," but I was a frustrated writer and had enough of keeping up the optimism. xD)

These points (unfortunately) came a lot easier to me. At first this only further discouraged me, but as I studied the "list of hate," all the points had one thing in common: they dealt with the plot. The lack of intrigue, weak middle, boring filler scenes...

So I finally understood what the problem was! My plot! It was stupid! Wahoo! I could now edit with freedom! But after my small celebration...

...I realized that fixing these plot problems meant I had to rewrite my entire book. *screams into the endless void forever*

If you've been around this blog for awhile, you may remember me mentioning at one point in time or another, that rewrites are my least favorite type of edits. *shudders* 

It's been tough accepting that I'll have to go through this novel again... but it has also proven to be a good experience for myself. I've learned that even though I'm improving with writing everyday, the obstacles and challenges won't stop coming. I'm never going to write a perfect first draft. I will always need to edit multiple times, and the process of writing is always. going. to. be. tough. It's gonna be a lot easier to accept that and start working hard rather than continually trying to go the "easy route."

I've also learned that in order to move forward and make progress... sometimes its necessary to first take a step back. Though it won't be "fun" rewriting this novel, I can already see how it's going to improve my story for the better. Just... so... much... rewriting... *dies* :P

Also, if you're currently having a hard time with your story... I recommend reading Nadine Brandes' article on "How to Keep Writing Even When You Hate Your Story." It could definitely help pinpoint your problem if you've been struggling with the same thing.

<3,
katie grace

how was your week? did editing/writing go well?
what do you do when you "hate your story?"

TO THE ONES WHO DREAM

Saturday, February 4, 2017
In which I ramble about all my thoughts on La La Land. This isn't going to be a review -- at least, not really. This movie and its themes have been stuck in my head since I saw it, and I needed some way to release allll my feelings.

(spoiler free, of course. like I said -- these are more thoughts than a review of the actual movie.)




I've always considered myself a dreamer. More often than not my head is somewhere in the clouds, which can cause me to come across as quiet, but that's only because there's an orchestra of hopes and fears and dreams and completely unrealistic expectations swirling in my mind. Forever dreaming and thinking and hustling and wondering.

I went into La La Land without knowing anything about the actual movie. Well... I guess I knew that it was some sort of romance with music involved. Okay. Cool. So?

What I didn't realize, is that I would connect with this story so much. I fell in love to the point of tears, and after watching the movie I immediately rushed home to play the songs on the piano. this. movie. means. so. much.

Yes, it is a romance. A very sweet one -- making a huge deal about holding hands and the smaller things. The romance wasn't the reason I loved the movie so much, though it certainly did add to it with the realism of it all.

La La Land is a story about artists and dreams. (okay, sorry, this is totally turning into a lil' mini review xD) It's about an aspiring actress and a jazz musician. It's about their extreme love and passion for making their own dreams come true. I can relate.

What I adored, is that the movie didn't just show the glamorous parts of being an artist. They showed the struggle -- working their butts off, living simply, and the pain of rejection. It showed the curtain behind the fame, and the trials it takes to get there in the first place. It means working every. single. day. It means working with fears that the day of "making it" in the industry might not ever come.

Being a dreamer is easy, but making the dream a reality is something only a few can accomplish. It means trying again and again, even when it doesn't work the first time. La La Land showed the importance of the "never give up" attitude, and it made me so happy.

Sometimes, being a dreamer means giving up other dreams to focus on The Dream. This is the hard part -- where the sacrifices come in and it quickly becomes clear that it's not possible to do everything. That it's not possible to have everything in life.

This movie gathered all my thoughts and inserted them into one, beautiful masterpiece. The music, the dancing, the romance, the story, the showcase of artists and musicians and dreams. The lyrics below hit me especially hard, and I struggled to hold my tears and sobs in the movie theater.
here's to the ones who dream
foolish as they may seem
here's to the hearts that ache
here's to the mess we make
(isn't that the most beautiful thing? the whole song is lovely and I cried all the way through it. THIS MOVIE, YOU GUYS. asjdkfl; <3)

It's a fine balance between being sensible and following crazy, big, magnificent dreams, but maybe we can do both. It's tough.But God gave us dreams and the hearts and talent to achieve them. With His help and His will... who knows what might happen.

In all, go see La La Land. Shoot for the sky, and work hard to conquer those handmade dreams for you. 

(i hope you enjoyed my rambles. :P)

<3,
katie grace

(now that your head is filled with the topic of dreams... the amazing writers of burning youth posted about dreams all throughout the month of january. go bless your soul with the inspiration of that blog. <3)
have you seen la la land?
what are your dreams?