Saturday, March 30, 2019

The Lion and the Lamb: March Monthly Wrapup



It's been a wild ride here in New England this winter.

The weather has gone from dumping buckets of snow on our heads, to pouring so much rain our garage flooded, to giving us days so warm we can wear T-shirts outside. There's been skiing and there's been roller skating. There's been hot cocoa and there's been ice cream.

The swing between warm and cold makes me think of the books on my reading list. I swing back and forth between periods where there're lots of clean books on my shelf, and times when I'm reading whatever happens to be on the market.

Right now, it seems kind of like everyone is writing books full of crud. There's so much smut in the world—could we ever actually succeed in making uplifting, hopeful fiction be the norm?

That's the winter. But don't worry, friends. The spring is coming.

Posts this Month

A Defense of Non-Committal Writers by Catherine—a really great look at the fact that we don't have to rush through our writing projects! Let's take our time and create a work of art worthy of our pride. 





Thoughts About Magic in YA by the Rebellious Writing team—the whole team got together to discuss our thoughts on magic and whether or not it's okay in YA! We had a blast writing this one, and hope you all enjoyed it too!




Short and Snappy: How to Write a Gripping Flash Fiction Story by Lila Kims—everyone writes novels, but how can you tell an excellent story in less than a thousand words?! This post does an awesome job providing advice on how to do it!




Taking a Closer Look: Details are Everything by Clare A.—is content okay in small doses? What harm does a little bit of the yuckier elements of smut do? Clare is here to inform us that it may effect more than we think. 





Monthly Stats

Website:
98 followers, 41,360 all-time views

Facebook:
58 likes, 63 followers

Twitter:
307 followers, 449 tweets, 638 likes

Instagram: 
38 posts, 142 followers

Pinterest:
22 boards, 141 followers

Goodreads:
74 members, 23 topics

YouTube:
45 subscribers

Around the Blogosphere

It's almost Camp NaNoWriMo! Next month, we can expect to see lots of posts about that from team members and followers alike.

Christine is starting a new blog called Fairy Tale Central along with two other bloggers, Arielle and Faith, and it's going to be absolutely fantastic! It should be releasing soon.

Nicki Chapelway gave us a post featuring the most pressing books on her TBR! If you need more books for that shelf (and you know you do), check out her list!

Our team member, Keturah, started a serial story on her blog about Susan Pevensie from Narnia! Only one chapter is up on her blog at the moment, but it has the makings of a really awesome story.

Julian asks her readers to consider the main goal of getting published: is it for the pursuit of our own happiness, or is it for the glory of God?


Final Thoughts

It can be cold out there, and it can feel like you're alone. But we're never alone. There are lots of other Rebellious Readers and Rebellious Writers around you. All you have to do is look.

Have a wonderful April, everyone! 


Saturday, March 23, 2019

Taking a Closer Look: Details are Everything



I love to read and review books (and movies!), but sometimes it is so hard! Though I hate to admit it, I am a very sensitive person. And it’s not that I had a sheltered childhood, I’ve been watching PG-13 movies for as long as I can remember.

Books are my comfort zone, I read everywhere. In the car, curled up in some corner, in my hammock (in the summer, of course). These are all the comfy places, but I can even read when I am not comfortable, because I’m in a different world. But, when things disturb me from that, and interrupt my worlds, I don’t like it one bit.

But, if there is something that is so, so, so small, do I take a point or star away?

I am so picky, about everything. My mom and sisters always complain that when I’m watching movies I flinch every time someone curses, or when there are suggestive references, or when someone is smoking. When they ask, "How did you like it?" My first impulse is to say all the problems with it.

They say, “You have to look past those things to get to the meaning.”

My problem: I can’t.

They always say, “It is just such a little thing! It doesn’t matter!”

Exactly; it isn’t vital to the plot, so why is it there?

Do we just turn “a blind eye” towards it?

Now, when it is vital to the story, or it shows consequences, I am perfectly fine with it! Stories are about growing and overcoming obstacles. Evolution! But what I’m talking about is when someone, without a care in the world, mentions “his husband”. Ouch, no, no, no.

“That character never appears, they are only mentioned once, no big deal!” People say.
What? Excuse me!? I’ve had a book that this happened in and every time I think about it this comes to mind instead of the awesome story.

When there is one “little” thing, or a lot of “little” things, I can’t focus. It might be the greatest work the world has ever known, but I can’t concentrate on the beautiful message because of all the “little” things.

I like to think about it like pointillism. Look at any painting that was done using this technique. Think about how much time and effort was put into it. Some people will ignore the little black smear, but not I. Any story, whether it is dark or light, funny or inspiring, has a happy ending or a sad ending, it is a masterpiece, and I want to enjoy it to it’s fullest... but sometimes, and it really saddens me, I can’t.

This is how we start down the dark trail. The things that are just “tiny” grow bigger. Then, before we know it, they aren’t so little anymore.

This is what we need to rebel against! We can fight back. You don’t have to throw something in just to be “cool”. We can’t change everything in the blink of an eye, but we can take baby steps that lead us on the right path.

Yours &c.

Clare A.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Short and Snappy: How to Write a Gripping Flash Fiction Story




Flash fiction. Even if it isn't your go-to project and you'd much rather crank out 100,000-word behemoths, writing short fiction will strengthen you as a storyteller. Although I'm definitely still a novel-writer first and foremost, I've cultivated a deep appreciation for flash fiction over the past several months and have already learned important things about how to write it! So today, I'm going to share three tips for writing a gripping flash fiction story.

1) Make sure your story has a strong beginning, middle, and end.
This is not to say that a flash fic with a strong beginning and middle but a weaker ending (as in, not much closure) won't be a good story, but it's a brute fact that the stronger every part of your story is, the stronger and more impactful your story will be.

I feel like endings that provide sufficient closure are harder to write when it comes to flash fiction. A fully-rounded story of such short length is a huge challenge. But the more flash fiction I read (shout-out to Havok Publishing!), the more I realize that the stories with the most closure, the ones with a real, satisfactory conclusion, are the most enjoyable. A story with little to no closure often leaves readers feeling cheated, especially if that story had a strong beginning and middle.

Believe me, I fall victim to the struggle. It's hard! But how does one get better? Research story structure and then PRACTICE. Simply, don't stop writing flash fiction. Keep at it, my friends, and pretty soon you'll have a score of short stories with strong endings under your belt.

(Note: The brevity of flash fiction makes a couple hanging strings almost inevitable. But don't mistake "a couple hanging strings" with an unsatisfactory conclusion.)

2) Keep it simple. I'm mainly addressing fantasy and science fiction here, which often involve complex systems. One thing I've discovered is that info-dumps have no place in flash fiction whatsoever - and most flash fic writers realize this, but here's the problem that arises: The story turns out confusing and hard to follow because it acts like you can grasp a complicated set of concepts or a complex world with nothing but a few hints. The truth is, you can't shove a Tolkien-esque fantasy setting into 1k words. Either stick to what's familiar within your chosen genre or drastically simplify your original concepts. And by that I mean actually simplify them, not simplify your explanation of them.

If your fantasy/sci-fi system is too complicated to be simplified, don't try to fit it into the tight flash fic model at all. Save it for a longer story, where you'll be able to give it the fleshing-out it needs. Simple and easy to follow will grip readers more, especially in short fiction.

3) Have your main character change in some way by the end. This is another challenge for flash fiction because you're trying to develop a realistic transformation in a small amount of words, but it's a well-known writing lesson I believe should be emphasized for flash fiction. Characters make or break a story, and excellent character development is a crucial aspect of truly gripping flash fiction. And it doesn't have to be a big, glaring life transformation. It can be subtle. All I ask is that you put your character(s) through something that CHANGES them.

~~~

As you can see, although flash fiction is a challenging story format, it provides valuable practice with story structure and character development. It's a great exercise for novel-writers seeking to improve their niche, and it brings immense satisfaction to write and polish a piece in as little as a week. Of course, you'd ideally want to spend more time on it than that, to produce the highest-quality story, but you know what I mean. It's only 1,000 words!

And yet, it's not just any ol' "1,000 words." An epic 1,000-word story can be just as gripping and enthralling as an epic 100,000-word novel. So go forth and give flash fiction a try!



The Lord's Truly,
Comment below whether you've had experience writing flash fiction and what you've learned from it. Also, I know there are plenty more tips for writing in this story format, so feel free to add some of those other tips below!

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Thoughts about Magic in YA: Featuring the Rebellious Writing Team



Magic in YA tends to be a touchy business which divides Christian readers from secular readers. Just ask anyone who has gotten into a debate about Harry Potter.

This was an issue we, as an organization, ran into almost from the beginning. We wanted to appeal to both Christian and secular audiences. But since this was such a dividing issue, we had several discussions among the team members explaining each of our beliefs on magic, and some of it's effects of the YA genre.

At this moment, we have no defined stance on magic in YA. However, in this Roundtable discussion, we will outline our own personal viewpoints on magic. From there, we will draw a consensus stance, which will serve as our working stance on magic in YA. 


Gray Marie Cox
Founder, Blog Writer, Pinterest Coordinator, Assistant Goodreads Moderator

To me the real question is; where do we draw the line when it comes to fiction? The great thing about books and writing is that reality can be bent. One of my favorite books when I was younger was Tuesdays at the Castle, but a living castle and stuffed animals that can turn into mythical creatures isn’t realistic, so how does this work?

The answer is fiction, which is “a belief or statement that is false, but that is often held to be true because it is expedient to do so”. The great thing about writing is that you create the rules.

A lot of stories start with the prompt “what if?”.

What if the government becomes corrupt to the point of forcing the people to rebel completely?
What if there’s a zombie apocalypse?
Or what if magic was real?


The most important thing when it comes to magic in fiction is, like most subjects, where we draw the line.

I’m okay with magic themes that are found in Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, The Chronicles of Narnia, Harry Potter, or The Wizard of Oz, because in the end they have good morals and aren’t dark or alluding to a greater darkness. They stay within the realm of fiction because that’s what they are--fictional works created for our enjoyment and imaginations.



Faith Thompson
Blog Writer, Facebook Coordinator, Assistant Goodreads Moderator

I was raised on things like Lord of the Rings, The Chronicles of Narnia, and many, many other fantastical works. Many of these stories feature magic. As a child, I never questioned the morality of magic; my parents never made it seem strange, and I simply loved the stories that involved it, partly because they were fantasy but also because they featured these things I knew could never be done in the real world.

I didn’t even know that broader debates existed in the world of readers as regards magic— not until I started reading Harry Potter. I knew there were other kids— among them my good friends— who weren’t allowed to read HP but I assumed that it was for the same reason my sisters couldn’t watch LotR. Too scary.

Knowing a bit more about magic and finding my own faith has led me to believe this about magic: It’s okay. If it is within the realm of another fantasy system, it’s okay. I’m more picky about magic here, in the real world—for example, I love Maggie Stiefvater’s The Raven Cycle, but there is some creepy magic use that makes me a bit uncomfortable within that story. Things like Harry Potter have never bothered me.

Essentially, I want to see good characters fighting for the light and overcoming darkness and evil. And if magic can contribute in some way to making the darkness heavier or the light shine brighter, than I want to see it.



Catherine Hawthorn
Blog Writer, Communications Manager, Blog Post Formatter, Assistant Goodreads Moderator, Book Scout Coordinator

I class “magic” as an act of supernatural force that can be used by either God, angels or demons. It’s one of those ambiguous terms that can confuse many people, depending on the usage of it. However, in most cases, it deals with the occult.

I’m firmly against alchemy, animation, illusions, duplication, shape-shifting, mediums, scrying, fortune-telling, shamans, summoning demons or other spirits, sorcery, necromancy, witchcraft, mages, warlocks or other such arts. Amulets, omens, seances, and Ouija boards are also big no-nos. Such dark magic can be used only by villains if it has to be present but it must be defeated in the end.

If any magic be present in books, I much prefer that the character be born with the power instead of having them learn. Being born with a power implies that a Creator infused the person with the power, rather than having them learn from a demonic source. I believe that magic should have limits. It can’t fix everything like a Divine Being can. There should also be limits on who practices it, and where.

In short, I take the views of magic held by the founders of Christian speculative fiction, J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. It’s a matter that needs kid gloves in order to not be singed by Satan.



Melissa Gravitis
Blog Writer, Twitter Coordinator

For me, whether or not magic is okay comes down to a simple question: What’s its source? The term magic itself is vague, but I understand it to be anything that we can’t explain by human or scientific powers, and have to look to spirituality or supernatural powers instead.

If you think of magic that way, imagine someone from another world coming to Earth and being blown away by singing. They can’t sing; none of their people have the ability. They can’t explain what they’re hearing or have any understanding of how to do it. To them, it would be magic. In fiction, if a group of people have been granted unique abilities and powers, in my opinion it’s the same situation, and reflective of how they were created. In which case, I’d love to read about them!

On the other hand, if characters draw power to manipulate and control through dark forces, for me this needs to be shown as dangerous and harmful. Never in any circumstance should playing with the world’s evil be depicted as harmless fun. So long as the book portrays magic from powers of darkness as what it truly is, I think it makes a powerful statement.

To sum it up, I enjoy reading about magic, but its source is key. If it comes from evil, then it should be shown as evil, but if magic is a way to describe a people group’s created abilities, then you’ve a wonderful story on hand!


Clare A.
Blog Writer, Blog Scheduler

I have always been encouraged to believe in magic. I always read fairy-tales and other stories including magic. I do believe that I am like Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables. She believes in the magic of a new day, in beautiful scenery, and when her joy is beyond words her thoughts are for the magic and the beauty of it all. Her imagination knows no bounds.

That being said, she has been known to take it too far. That is where it gets tricky, where is too far?

I never even thought that magic could be bad. I was shocked when I learned that some people refused to read Harry Potter. I totally respect that, but I was just surprised because I had never considered it. I began to find fault in it and decided that I didn’t like it. I stuck through it to the end and, boy, am I glad that I did. The whole story goes far beyond where I ever thought, and it is amazing. There are some things in the Harry Potter books that I do not agree with, but overall it is a good read.

I used to pretty much only read Fantasy novels. The Chronicles of Narnia will always be my favorite though, they have such deep messages! I never found anything wrong with magic, and I always loved the battles of good vs. evil that showed that good always prevails. One day I stumbled across a book that was different. It involved evil spirits and ghosts in a way that I had never read and it sort of said that they were bad, not real, etc…. But it also had a final note that disturbed me.

Lately I have seen movies that have genuinely scared me because of the way magic was being used. I have decided to back away from those because suspense is good in books and movies, but being terrified is not.

So, what I have to say is that fantasy and magic in books and movies should make you happy, make you discover deeper meanings, and love the world for what it is.



Keturah Lamb
Blog Writer, Instagram Coordinator 

When I was a young teen I discovered fantasy through the works of Tolkien and Lewis and believed I was a fan of all fantasy, and told people so. This bothered my mom for quite a time as she was raised believing all fantasy was evil. I knew that Tolkien’s and Lewis’ books weren’t evil, but profound, enriching, and full of depth. But I didn’t know how to explain this to my mom for the longest time. I wanted to read fantasy, but I didn’t want to flippantly justify my reading material just because I liked it.

Finally, I came up with this. Magic in a fantasy world is just another way of saying miracles. It’s not really magic. It’s not of the devil, but a part of a fictional world. According to my theory, this made any sort of magic set in another world good and anything of this world bad. Meaning Harry Potter was out and Lord of The Rings was in.

But then I developed a strong interest in mythology. And that really worried my mom. And to be honest, I was a bit worried myself. I’ve always wanted to make sure what I read adds to my life and draws me closer to God, not Satan. But I didn’t know which mythology did for me.

As I’ve grown older, I’ve realized there’s a balance to everything. And I’ve learned some more things about myself. I actually don’t like most fantasy. Most fantasy, in my opinion, is a rip off of Tolkien or Lewis, or the magic is just so dark it’s obviously not casting light into our lives. I’ve become so picky with what fantasy I’ll actually read (Jill Williamson and Brandon Sanderson are two of the few I can think of). But I also realized that I love to study and research. And while myths may be centered around gods/ demons in disguise, there is much to be learned from myths.

C. S. Lewis said, “A myth is a lie that conveys a truth.”

And, “Now the story of Christ is simply a true myth: a myth working on us the same way as the others, but with this tremendous difference that it really happened: and one must be content to accept it in the same way, remembering that it is God’s myth where the others are men’s myths: i.e., the Pagan stories are God expressing Himself through the minds of poets, using such images as He found there, while Christianity is God expressing Himself through what we call 'real things'.”

And he said so much more on myths because he also loved them and felt they were partially responsible for his salvation.

The thing is this; we are attracted to fantasy because it is spiritual. Spirituality is and should be of our first nature. We should be drawn to the supernatural, for it is what keeps us alive and gives us purpose. But even so, we should be careful. Because not all spiritual or supernatural things are of God’s spirit, but some are of Satan’s spirit.

And how do we differentiate the two? I think it will depend on the person and what he or she is taking from what they read. Are you learning? Or does your mind feel contaminated? Are you loving God and His Word more, or has man’s fantasy become more appealing to you? Do you love what God has created most (Earth) or do you wish with all your heart that you lived in Narnia (man’s myth). Is fantasy leading you down a darker path, toward witchcraft?

When I was younger I said I loved fantasy because it reminded me of Revelation.
But now I know that I dislike most fantasy because it is more akin to the Beast than to God, and I love only that which makes my life and mind more like Yeshua’s.



Julian Daventry
Blog Writer, Goodreads Coordinator

When I learn that there is magic in a book, there are a few things I want to know: is the author a Christian, or at least someone likely to handle the magic in a respectful manner (and not just throw in a bunch of dark magic because that's what cool)? Is the magic part of the structure of the story world? Is it something people are born with that they must learn to use? Or does the magic come from spells or potions? Did a character have to partake in some ritual in order to gain their powers?

Basically, does the magic have roots/origins that are dark or godless? Or are they simply part of the inner workings of the world? Especially with things like magic, there should be a line between good and evil, and doing good should NOT look like doing evil. (Like in The Hobbit movies, when Galadriel fights Sauron and looks like the "all shall love me and despair-this-is-what-happens-if-I-take-the-Ring" Galadriel glimpsed in The Lord of the Rings. I'm not against her showing her power, but I really think they should have made her all white and beautiful, not dark and creepy, in The Hobbit.)

If a book seems perfect, but has a magic system, I'm certainly not going to cross it off instantly. But if there are other things in the book that concern me, plus a magic system, I'm less likely to check it out.

Because, when it gets down to it, I prefer non-magic fantasy, not necessarily out of religious or moral concerns, but out of personal preference.

I feel like magic often gives authors/characters an easy way out. Is the MC trapped at the top of a tower, with the only exit guarded by enemies? Well, you can have the MC zap them all with some elemental fire or whatever, or you can have the MC attempt to fight, or give up and attempt to escape a prison cell later, or maybe he/she climbs down the side of the tower, or maybe the MC simply jumps. The latter options all have a little more excitement, IMO.

Secondly, I have a hard time connecting characters learning to harness elements or otherwise magic. I know I'm supposed to get some "learn to persevere" lesson from those situations, but I just...don't. I end up reading and being a bit bored. I'd much rather read about a character learning to sew, or fight with a sword, or scale a mountain.

Thirdly, I think characters in magical worlds tend to be overpowered at times. I get tired of all the characters wielding elements or being "completely invincible if they didn't have this traumatic past that they have to break through to become the BEST EVER." Give me a normal human struggling with normal human weaknesses any day.

Essentially: I don't mind magic in books, when done correctly. But I'm getting tired of magic and it's stereotypes.



 In Conclusion.....
"Where do we draw the line?" 


It can be safely said that Rebellious Writing approves of such magic that is found in The Chronicles of Narnia or Lord of the Rings. Therefore, we are not totally against magic in YA. However, we are sensitive to the nature, source and effects of such magic - so we cannot approve all forms of magic in YA. 

As we developed our standards for rating books, we were unsure as to whether magic should be included in the list of rating categories. As you can see, many of us have strong opinions as to whether magic is appropriate and how it affects our personal ratings.

Categories such as Language, Abuse and Lust could easily be justified as they are natural concerns. We can see the immediate effects of such bad material in YA. Magic, on the other hand, is not nearly as clear-cut. 

In the end, because the nature of the argument is of spiritual concerns and not strictly natural, we decided to not include that as an actual rating category.  However, because of our strong Christian base, we started putting disclaimers on book reviews citing any magical concerns as we found them. Book Scout reviewers are also free to disclose any such concerns in their reviews.

We hope that this post clarified our stance on magic in YA, and that you enjoyed reading this discussion! Always remember to read and write rebelliously - together, we can beat the darkness! 

Saturday, March 2, 2019

A Defense of Non-Committal Writers



Today, I bring you a post that has been stewing in my mind for over a year: a defense of non-committal writers.

What do I mean by "non-committal writers"?

I mean those writers who jump from one WIP to another. They are the ones that have at least four-ten WIPs going on at once. Every month it seems, they come up with a new story or have little progress on their old ones. They are the epitome of a hobby writer.

There is a solid pressure from other bloggers to adopt tips from other writers, including the following:

Writing must be serious
You must work at it constantly
You must commit to one WIP.

Part of this is because many bloggers use blogging as a platform for a future professional career as a writer. And if a writer ever hopes to be a professional (that is, published) writer, it is good that the craft be taken seriously. After all, it's rather unfair to readers if they're teased about a story and then they find that it's tabled because of one dumb reason after another (a situation that I am very familiar with....).

However, I see a few problems with this sort of approach from an author's perspective. First, it leads to burnout and boredom - a sure death-knell of a creative spirit. Second, it is not forgiving towards other pressing obligations such as work or family. And third, it turns a hobby into an obligation which then turns the writer away from writing in the first place.

I'm not saying to be a lazy writer and put nothing into your craft. I encourage you writers to invest time in learning, and make a mistake or two. Have some structure to it and don't forget about your stories entirely.

What I am saying is, don't make it as structured as training for the Olympics at first. Maybe work up to that point if you are a person that needs structure. But employ moderation and self-knowledge when you are making your writing schedule. The latter is extremely key, especially as you battle the obstacles of writing a novel.


Overcoming Obstacles as a Non-Committal Writer


Keeping with the balance of life and sanity, it is important even for a non-committal writer to make progress on their works....in spite of whatever obstacles they come across.

Understanding the obstacle is very important to overcoming it. This will require some reflection and extra time, but it's well worth it.

There are two common obstacles that non-committal writers will use as justification to switch WIPs or stop writing on their current project. And they are stuck plots and naughty characters. For this section, I'll give a simple explanation and then go into some strategies that have worked for me as a non-committal writer.


The Plot Is "Stuck"

This can happen quite often when writing. Sometimes this is a result of writers block or procrastination/lack of motivation.

There are plenty of times when I'm just simply stuck on where the story is going or what the characters are doing. So I'll just let it stew in my muse for a while. And quite often, an inspiration will come. It could be in a day or a year, but it does come.

Take for example Rose of Culmore. I was ridiculously stuck on Rose O'Neill's character and motivations for months. And then one day I was browsing through my Spotify suggestions and came on this one song and suddenly I was plunged into Rose's head, crystal clear.

Sometimes, you just need one research article or a physical reminder of one of your characters' struggles to get you writing again. You may not find this particular spark the first time you look, or the second, or the forty-fifth. But keep a weather eye out sailor, it will come...and often when you least expect it to.

Many writers will say to throw the unexpected at your characters. Be deliberate when using this - otherwise there will be a lot of editing that needs to be done. Remember, a slapped-together plot with lots of drama is about as bad as a bland plot.


Uncooperative Characters

Sometimes, a character's reaction won't make sense or will seem counter to what their character seemed to be. Often a writer will use tongue-in-cheek humor and say that the characters are not cooperating. To some, this can seem like reality.

As with all creative endeavors, not everything that is in the writer's head will translate correctly onto the page all the time. Quirks of the imagination often "control" many character's reactions and depending on what kind of muse you have.

As a parent of a rather rebellious muse, I find that I have to leave some leeway if I'm ever to get anywhere. Otherwise my imagination will be flooded with "that's not how it goes!" and other such annoying phrases that either drown or beat my poor plot bunnies to death. Having and making note of alternate choices may also help during editing as well.

Also, finding similar characters in books, movies and TV shows really helps to solidify characters. Take note of characterization in the back of your mind as you watch stuff. You can always rewatch later to get the full effect.



Why I'm a Non-Committal Writer


I don't view story writing as a dining experience in which you are inundated with meal choices and you can't decide which to eat. I view it instead as more of a garden with plants that require different needs at different times.

Plot bunnies are like little sprouts - some of which are weeded out and others are chosen to grow more. Then these plants are given water (passion) and fertilizer (research) to help them grow bigger and stronger. Weeds are cleared out as they grow. And then there is a time to let them grow and mature on their own while you work on other projects.

I find story-writing to be an organic process that grows at its own rate. Sure, it needs water and weeding, but does it need it everyday? I find that if I don't force myself to write everyday, the story grows better in quality as well as quantity.

Writing is not my life. I'm not a full on career writer. I have other things to do, about twenty other hobbies to pursue and a livelihood to catch.

Do I wish to be a professional writer one day? Of course. However, there is more than one method to reach publishing success. I'd much rather take twelve-sixteen years to write a truly wonderful masterpiece and still have a fulfilling life like Tolkien did than to write like crazy for a year and some odd months to write a book that will be forgotten again less than five years from now.

Slow and steady wins the race, my friends. Don't let the hares badger you into sacrificing the love of the story.