This month I’ve been going through Jonathan Babcock‘s 1 Month of Creative Writing Exercises, and I’ve really been enjoying them!
The other day I was supposed to write three completely different scenes, where someone trips and falls in a park, then rolls over to find someone smiling at them. I got a kick out of writing these, and I hope you enjoy reading them, as well!
“Sully! Is that you?”
Oh, no. That voice is all too familiar. I roll over on the sidewalk and see the suave smile I’d hoped never to see again after the day I walked out of Century High with no honors.
Good heavens, he doesn’t even have the compassion to extend a hand to help his old high school rival. His carefully-arranged facial features never shift as I grunt and heave and shove myself into an upright position. I brush the dead leaves from my hair and shirt, wishing I was one of them. “I haven’t seen you in forever.”
“Evidently not much has changed.” Jared brushes an imaginary leaf from his own immaculate shirt sleeve.
The little girl rolled over, tears starting in her eyes. Her knee was burning, and no doubt bleeding from the sudden contact it had with the walking trail.
“Hey, are you okay?”
The boy standing over her couldn’t be more than six years old. Orange hair poked out at random from his hastily-donned cap, and his green eyes expressed concern.
“Uh, I think so…my knee really hurts.”
“Gee, it really hurts when you skin your knee. I did that the other day, and I couldn’t run right for a while.” The boy got down next to her and looked at the wound. “Hey, it’s not that bad! My mom’s right over there; she’s got some bandaids.”
“Hey, do I know you?”
Dave sure hoped the girl didn’t. He hastily scrambled to his feet, wincing a bit as his scraped knees protested the movement. He took a closer look at her. “Uh…”
“Youth group!” She pointed in sudden realization. “You’re the new kid! David, was it?”
“Uh, yeah!” He squinted, and she grinned.
“Kathy.” She shifted the backpack she had slung over one shoulder and stuck out a hand. “Nice to meet you again! Are you okay?”
“Just scratched.” David took a closer look at the girl and decided he better not play up his injuries. She looked like she could fight a bear and come out victorious.
Which story was your favorite? Do you enjoy writing exercises? If you’d like to access the resource 1 Month of Creative Writing Exercises, click here to subscribe to Jonathan’s newsletter!
Goodness sakes…this was most definitely a month to remember.
You know the writing challenge I told you I was doing this July? Well, I got about 5k words written of the 20k I wanted. But I’m going to let myself be okay with falling flat on my writer’s face, because this month took the cake in terms of real-life plot twists and adventures. So much of it made me laugh. A lot of it made me cry. But I saw God’s hand and knew His presence so clearly this month, and we’ll close it out in His praise. ❤
Things worth remembering…
Sitting by the lake and just drinking in the beauty of all of the sights and sounds and smells.
Taking goofy photos with my sisters.
Fresh veggies from the garden!!
Holding my brand-new cousin in the hospital…my heart! *happy sigh*
Being there with my family when my Grandpa left his earthly home to see the Lord face to face. I had never experienced anything like that, and the raw pain and beauty of that evening was beyond belief.
Lots and lots of hugs. ❤
Completing 20 revolutions around the sun.
Gifts and a handmade birthday card from some guys in my youth group…they have no idea how much that made my week. ❤
Bingeing Doctor Thorne with my Grandma into the wee hours. 11/10 recommend.
A weekend with cousins…the sweetest and weirdest memories made with the sweetest and weirdest souls. May Morgan, the Jensens, the fruit kabobs, and the couch (was it really free?) live forever in our hearts.
Getting my brothers graduated!!!! Another weekend with cousins and the dearest friends.
He looked confused and ashamed, and said, with embarrassment, “I beg a thousand pardons. I did not know you had a burglar alarm, else I would have rung it.”
Oh, this short story gave me a good laugh!
From the journal
A new month = new mercies.
My mood is very fragile…I woke up and the fact that everyone had polished off the bagels before I’d had one nearly ruined my day. (I have to laugh at myself sometimes…XD)
I was getting a headache, borderline snapped at people, and morphed into a silent, weary, glowering, ham-gobbling state of torpid existence. (…) Oh, Lord, let me bow only to Your heart, not the selfish dictates of my own.
It’s one thing to grapple with death. It’s another to realize that someone will never again be in your life, making new memories with you.
The Spirit in me is the one that gave Samson his strength; give me the strength, Lord, to love fully and abundantly, and to live this day to the hilt.
How was your July? What were the highlights? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!
Whether we like it or not, comparison seems to be ingrained into our very souls…or at least, the very soul of our culture. I never thought I had a significant problem with comparison because I truly love my life and don’t obsess over what people think of me…
But the whispers still come…
I’m not doing what she’s doing. Does that mean I’m not doing enough? She’s writing so many more words than I am…and is doing it better than I am? What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I seem to keep up?
There are so many people in the Bible that fascinate me, but Simon Peter takes the cake. My soul has a good laugh (or sometimes a good cry) whenever I read about him because he’s just. so. relatable. I’m glad I’m not the only Jesus-adoring soul who talks too soon, too much, and too thoughtlessly. I’m glad I’m not the only one who has had to work through my own unfaithfulness to realize Christ’s faithfulness is unfathomable.
And I’m glad I’m not the only disciple Jesus had to call out of the comparison game.
In the last chapter of John’s account of the gospel, Jesus has just told Peter, “Follow me.” And what does Peter do?
What most of us do, honestly.
He turns around and looks at someone else.
John. The beloved disciple. The favorite. The one who didn’t deny his Lord three times after vowing to die for Him. The one whose seeming perfection likely made Peter feel more ashamed than he already was.
“But what about him, Jesus?”
I can just see Jesus turning to Peter, looking him straight in the eyes, and replying,
“What is that to you? You follow Me.”
Jesus doesn’t ask us to look to those around us for condemnation or validation. He simply calls, simply and clearly, for us to walk after Him.
What is it to me if my journey looks vastly different than the lives of those around me?
I’m to follow Him, and that is all that matters.
Let’s jump out of the comparison game, friends. Let’s take a hard look at ourselves in the light of God’s word and leave the clamor of the world behind. There’s only one Voice whose approval truly counts.
Welcome to my review of one of my new favorite books!!!!! I don’t habitually binge-read anymore, but I tore through this one in about a week. (For other more voracious readers I know this is nothing, but check my Good Reads to see how often it is I actually finish a book. XD)
First, we need to talk about the cover. The cover. Isn’t it gorgeous??? The golden light, the font, the cloak, the everything. This cover makes me so very happy. *smiles dreamily*
Violet lives her quiet life in her sleepy village, trying to remain as dead to the politics that are threatening their world as possible. She follows the rules, stays out of trouble and does her best to remain out of sight from the dreaded and overbearing Kingsmen.
With the new regent on the throne till the prince comes of age, the country has been thrown into a turmoil. Unlike the kindly king before him, the new ruler is overbearing, frightening and tyrannical in his rule. Taxes are bleeding the people dry and without the money or goods to pay, they have been forced into penal servitude and imprisonment by the Kingsmen, who show no mercy. The despair and fear that has taken over their lives has ruled out any level of hope.
When Violet stumbles upon an unconscious and injured Kingsman in the woods, despite the consequences, she is compelled to take care of the injured man. When he wakes and has no memory of his identity or past, she takes the only precaution that will keep her and her grandmother safe; she destroys the evidence of his past life.
If Violet’s lowly Kingsman regains his memory, will she survive the consequences? And will the Kingsman be able to live with his past life? Who will fight to free Elira?
Not many books literally change the way I live and see the world…Once I Knew did. The part of the blurb that originally caught my attention was the forgotten identity and the political turmoil…and while I do love that aspect of the story, the themes of redemption, forgiveness, and courage, plus the way Victoria didn’t shy away from including God in this non-magical fantasy in a powerful way are what made this story stand out to me.
More things I love about Once I Knew
The multiple POVs.
I really enjoyed getting to see the story from one character’s point of view, and then see that same character from another character’s perspective! It gave me such a good sense of each character’s strengths and weaknesses.
I have a huge soft spot for the strong, fatherly figures, the grandmothers, the sweet, tenderhearted-yet-manly side characters…this book delivered. Also, the character development in the main characters (and their friendship) was so inspiring.
The inclusion of God, prayer, and righteousness.
I’ve noticed that books in the fantasy genre tend to simply have a “God figure” or good morals – know I’m not bashing this at all; I really enjoy books like this! – and so I was delighted to find that the characters in Once I Knew have real, believable, life-changing relationships with the true God. This truly made the book so powerful and life-changing, and there were some scenes with spiritual breakthroughs that had my heart in a puddle.
Victoria handled the romance so. well. There were no uncomfortable kissing scenes (well, there was a kiss, but it wasn’t gross or way too soon XD) or cringey emotional things. Just a sweet romance between two friends who had solid character and a deep love and respect for one another.
The forest setting and all of the references to light.
I love the great outdoors, and so all of the references to trees, fields, and golden light were the best!
Victoria Lynn has an insatiable desire for truth, light and beauty.
Traveling to destinations of beauty created by our Heavenly Father, reveling in creative pursuits that fill her with joy, or pouring her heart into words of life are some of her favorite things to do.
She seeks to bring the life giving words of the Savior to a dark and broken world that desperately needs to know of His sacrifice.
A writing and publishing coach, author, journalist, seamstress and creator, she loves spending time with any of her 8 siblings, exploring her native state of Michigan, and sewing gowns fit for a princess.
(Also, quick note: I got to meet and spend some time with Victoria this spring on the Glory Writers retreat. She is the sweetest, and I so admire her courage, talent, and fiery heart for the Lord! Her Instagram account is also one of my favorites, so be sure to check it out.:)
Have you read Once I Knew or any of Victoria’s other books?
I’ve been reading this one for some research I’m doing…it’s the autobiography of a WWII fighter pilot, and goodness, was he ever a naughty little boy!XD It’s been pretty enjoyable, although I get a bit lost in all of the pilot jargon sometimes.
He had seen the pain, the evil, and the sin within him, had lifted his face in gentle hands, caressed it as a father does a child with a nightmare whose tears streak their cheeks, looked him in the eye and said:
“I love you. All of you.”
This book. I can’t even tell you how much I needed to read this one. Not only is the theme incredible, but the plot is so tight, the pacing incredible, the characters endearing…
And can we talk about the romance?? The romance is beautiful…and you have to understand that this is coming from the girl who cringes through most bits of romance in books and runs for popcorn during sappy parts in movies.XD The true love and restraint shown by the characters…I wanted to cheer and shout for joy. Please can we fight for such reform in the romance genre?
*tumbles off soapbox*
Anyway…I have an official review of the book coming up soon…plus an interview with the author! Stay tuned!
From the journal…
Oh, Lord, I only conquer in Your strength. Be my mighty defense…let me love what You love and hate what You hate.
I was so cranky today. …finally ate lunch. I hadn’t eaten anything and was so hungry and cranky. (Just keeping it real…)
Let ours be a story that makes people shake their heads and murmur in awe, “Only God could have worked such wonders.”
Whatever the future holds, Father, keep my heart soft and obedient.
The church must set aside what is good so that we may be about the business of what is best. And so must I…soul, defend yourself against distraction from what is highest and holiest.
Because of Christ’s blood shed to atone for my sins, God no longer sees any of my blemishes, and rejoices over me like a man head-over-heels in love with his bride. He delights in me. He wants me. The Master of the universe is enraptured by what He sees in me. Oh, Jesus, it is all because of You!
Oh, Father, make me like Abel, who, though he is dead, still speaks through the story he left behind. Let my life echo Your goodness and grace long after my voice is silenced.
Writing update + prayer request
Disclaimer: I’m okay. Don’t freak out about the prayer request part.XD
About the writing…
I haven’t worked seriously at drafting a novel since last November, when I attempted NaNoWriMo and got 11k words in before I became an emotional dumpster fire. (A translation for the sane people in the world: NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month, and it’s a time in November when maniacs armed with laptops decide to quit life for a month to write a novel, or 50,000 words, in November.)
After that experience, novel writing got shoved to the back burner as I scribbled poetry, published a poetry book, lived normal life, and scribbled more poetry.
Honestly, I was scared of attempting a novel again.
But a story idea kept haunting me. And haunting me. And haunting me.
I started sharing the concept with some friends, and the responses I got poured fuel on the fire of my desire to see this book through to publication.
So here I am again…committing to the goal of writing 20k words on this new heart project this July. And praying. A lot.
I’d love it if you would join me in prayer for this project. To me, this concept is more than just another story. Bits of it have been brewing in my mind since I was eleven or twelve…and so many topics that are near and dear to my heart have found their way into this book. It’s amazing to see how God has helped me to pull so many different elements of my experiences and passions into one story!
Last July I wrote 20k words for a story full of heartache and confusion. This July, I want to pour out 20k words of healing and redemption. Eeek! I only have a few thousand words written so far, but already I can’t wait to share this story with you all. ❤
When I hit 30k words on this project – which I’m currently terming Project Redemption – , I’m going to start sharing more details about it on Instagram…so if you aren’t following along there, click here so you can join the tribe and be among the first to hear updates!
What were the memorable pieces of your June? Writers, what’s been flowing from your pens/keyboards of late? Readers, what books have captured your imagination lately? I’d love to hear in the comments!
The cliff soared high above the churning lake below, its face rugged. The jutting rocks were perfect for giving fallen explorers a false sense of hope in their dire situation.
Without help, they had all lost their hold.
The young woman clung with her fingers and feet to the most prominent holds she could reach, sweat trickling down her spine in the cool of the evening. She clenched her jaw and adjusted her grip.
Of course, it was her fault that she’d fallen. He’d told her not to go anywhere near the edge of this cliff. But he loved her; she knew that. He loved her like no one else would ever love her.
He would come.
She knew he would.
Fingers aching, she glanced down. The moonlight shattered and glinted on the face of the roiling water, mocking. Boasting. Beckoning.
Don’t look down.
Her father’s voice echoed in her ears, and she tilted her face to the sky. Studded with stars, it brought memories rushing back.
“Can you count the stars, sweetie?”
“No, Daddy. I keep trying, but there are too many. They keep going on forever and ever!”
“They do, don’t they? Just like the way I love you.”
She had giggled and snuggled close to him. His beard had been rough and comforting against her cheek, his arms strong and safe around her. “I love you, too, Daddy.”
“I know, sweetheart.”
Tears glistened with the sweat on her face now. Did he still know she loved him? Even as she clung here, fallen from the precipice he’d marked off-limits? What would he think if they found her body in the lake far below? Did he have the same confidence in her love as she had in his?
“Daddy…” she whimpered, burying her face in her shoulder. Her muscles screamed. Her fingers ached. “I can’t hold on much longer…Daddy, please…”
The lapping of the waves on the shore far below was a taunt, loud in the silent night. The waves had closed over many wayward souls. She had shaken her head with her father as the rebels had neared the cliff’s edge, dancing closer and closer to destruction. She had cried and prayed with him for wisdom for the prodigals…
And now she, too, had fallen.
She tried to close her mind to what had led her to this place, but her memory dragged each image before her eyes, refusing to let her drown the past in obscurity.
There had been dancers on the cliffs. Beautiful, skilled, other-worldly. They had caught her up in their dance and drawn her nearer and nearer until she’d forgotten where she was. Finally, she’d gotten close enough to grasp one of them…
Her fingers passed through him like he was a mist.
Ghosts. She’d been chasing phantoms.
By then, it was too late. Her toes were already clinging to the cliff’s edge, and the horror of her discovery sent her reeling. She fell, screaming, over the edge, and mercifully found a hold on its face.
Or perhaps it wasn’t mercy. Perhaps it was judgement, giving her ample time to reflect upon her misdeeds before falling to her death – like so many other fools – into the lake below.
“Forgive me.” Her words were a gasp. “Daddy…”
The world blackened, and the stars burned like beacons. Streams of sweat ran into her eyes…or perhaps they were tears? She couldn’t tell anymore. She couldn’t hold on anymore.
He would come. She knew he would come. She just had to hold on…hold on just a little longer…
Minutes felt like hours. Hours felt like decades. Her muscles felt like fire.
The night crawled on, agony in its essence. She clung to the rock face, her lips moving in silence.
He loves me. He will save me. He loves me. He will come.
As dawn broke in the east, his voice boomed from the top of the cliff. “I’m coming, love.”
What happened next, she could never remember. All she knew was that she awoke in her father’s arms, in the safety of their castle, with love smiling at her from his eyes.
Right now my computer is slower than a lame tortoise and my brain feels like a mashed potato in a tornado, so I’m grateful I wrote this post as I lived through May so I don’t have to remember everything on my own! I hope you enjoy my glance back on this month with me.:)
Things worth remembering
wandering through some war memorials
sneaking over to my grandma’s house with my siblings in the early morning to fill her yard with pinwheels as a birthday surprise
pizza, ice cream, and good talks with a study group
a long sibling walk that ended in a rainstorm and sprinting…too bad we weren’t headed to Netherfield, huh?
exploring old farm buildings and finding bones
scaling fish for the first time and immensely enjoying it
The way I feel isn’t a good excuse to be unproductive, and neither is a lingering winter. I am completely responsible for myself, and my actions do not hinge on the whether the weather outside is frightful or delightful. What’s inside me is what ought to drive me.
The spiritual parallels of the physical seasons are my favorite, and Makayla has some wonderful thoughts in this post!
I’ve opted for a new and much more effective approach; manipulating them using the unconquerable force of peer-pressure. I can do this because I’m college-age and therefore a god. At least, in their opinion.
Sarah’s posts always leave me laughing and in awe of her ability to use my beloved snark so beautifully, and this one was no exception…except this one wrung my heart a bit at the end. Do yourself a favor and give this one a read.
remember that no matter how tiny the fragments this time, how far apart they are scattered, how long you must search, he will help you find the pieces of the person you once were and the image you once bore.
I’ve been digging into this one again. It’s one of my absolute favorites.
(If you’ve been here for a good amount of time, you’ll know how wonderful this is.XD) I loved it so much!! You can read my brief review on my Goodreads account.:)
From the Journal
Oh, Lord, may I ever remain set apart for Your purpose so that You may do wonders in my tomorrows.
All will be made whole…
Achan took the spoil because it was tempting…but God was going to allow the spoils to be taken lawfully in the next battle. Oh, Lord, help me to trust that You will satisfy my longings in due time.
Oh, Lord, clear my mind and give me the wisdom to discern between roadblocks You have set before me to turn my heart to greater things, and the rugged territory of fallen trees I must naturally clamber over on my way in Your will for me.
Lord, grant repentance. We cannot even come to the realization and regret of our sins if You don’t give us the grace to do so.
I can laugh without fear of the future, not because I am well-prepared and invincible, but because my Father laughs in the face of my greatest fears, and I trust Him completely.
How was your May? What stood out to you in this past month? Have you been reading/watching/listening to anything good lately?
Last week I asked in my Instagram stories for some fun/lovely/unique words to use as poetry prompts. I was given some pretty awesome words! I turned most of them into haikus…and here they are! I hope you enjoy reading through them.:)
please don’t let go your wonder
hold fast to your song
my dear, don’t you know
you aren’t meant to blend in here…
He set you apart
windblown and wild
a soul bent on so much more
fights onward for truth
shoving hard against darkness
the essence of hope
surrender, my love…
bitterness only poisons
the heart holding it
here in Your glory
Lord, let me be nothing more
than a raxeira
sometimes I neglect seeing
the wounds around me
one day – someday soon –
we will live in a land of
spill shalom freely
let it drip down from your words
and your legacy
candle in the wind,
fight for your faltering light…
the world needs your song
see, even teardrops
glimmer in the face of light,
a dolphin rises,
slips through the ocean’s crust,
take me to a place
where city lights don’t battle
Which haiku is your favorite? Have you ever tried writing haikus?