Make Life Really Freaking Hard For Your Hero

There comes a point in your hero’s journey where stuff has got to become very, very difficult. In the beginning, we’re meeting her for the first time, and life doesn’t have to be so super duper hard right now. But something’s gotta go wrong shortly. Once we’ve got a taste of her “ordinary world” what life is like normally for her, that’s when we throw something at her: the inciting incident–and then just keep pounding her with bigger and bigger problems–consistent resistance, obstacle after obstacle, one step forward, two steps back. BUT, don’t forget that leading up to this incident and its problematic cousins there must be tension. Nope, we don’t need an action packed fight scene showing off her nifty moves. We don’t need a bunch of interior monologue info-dumping her life to the reader, but we do need that sense of tension, of something brewing, or something off, or something looming.

Then, when that inciting incident happens, life suddenly becomes harder and harder for the hero. Beat her up. Let her go through the ringer. She’s gotta feel the pain so your audience feels it with her and is itching for justice, for relief, for the answer, for things to finally work out for her.

The death alarm sounded, that phantom punch in the gut I always dreaded. I touched the metallic gateway valve embedded in my chest at the top of my sternum–warm but not yet hot. The alarm was real. Someone in my territory would die tonight, and I had to find the poor soul. -Reapers, Bryan Davis

BAM, the inciting incident hits you immediately, wonderfully, and then every sentence is dripping with tension, dread is oozing from every word. I think this is one of the best examples of a not-so-ordinary world with a very quick, in fact, and instant inciting incident that gets the story rolling and this snowball only grows larger and larger–things begin to get harder and harder soon, but first we get to know Phoenix a bit more. We see him in his dingy apartment, gathering important items for his mission; we get insight into his dystopian, supernatural Chicago life by the environment not only inside his apartment, but outside of his window where a ghost who doesn’t know it wanders by a street corner and then the interaction Phoenix has with a fellow “reaper” who lives in the apartment building directly across from his.

The next scene arrives and it’s one difficulty that leads to another and then another, and all the while the tension is like a hissing tea kettle and, in my opinion, is actually more gripping than a wild battle.

He crosses a dangerous park where baddies lurk, you sense this whole area, this whole walk to find who is dying is ominous, but then he arrives safely to find it’s a little girl on the brink, and he’s only got one pill to offer her. First, she struggles to take it. The family is dripping with desperation and the tension is rising as this little girl just can’t swallow the darn pill. But then, a DEO shows up, a death enforcement officer who isn’t here to try and save little Molly from death–she’s here to enforce it. Now Phoenix has a very difficult problem because she also isn’t just any old DEO, she’s also an Owl–she’s got supernatural abilities and a high government position. But there’s more. She finds the pill and oh snapping turtle–it’s illegal to smuggle medicine so now Phoenix’s problems are really piling up. And THEN someone–I hope by now you’ve got the point so I can stop spoiling this amazing novel for you.

In fact, reading and studying how Bryan Davis wrote Reapers would benefit you more than this blog can–and leave you flipping pages into the wee hours of the night even though you’re a sleep-deprived Momma who’s bound to be woken up early the next morning by her other kiddos.

Happy writing!

Coryn of Bellsferry: Blood Thieves -Chapter 5: Unexpected Guests

Hunter aesthetic! 

Brown Plain Collages Facebook Post

Coryn Aesthetic!

Brown Plain Collages Facebook Post (2)

Chapter 5 of Coryn of Bellsferry: Blood Thieves is here! Check it out on Wattpad!

“I shivered, despite the summer heat. What if something happened to me? What if the Blood Thieves got to me? What would that do to my daughter, losing the person closest to her? She barely knew Gunner and Dixie. She’d be devastated and scared, and the security and joy of her childhood bubble would burst and she’d be thrown into the dark, confusing maze of this dangerous world. Death was banging on all of our doors, especially mine and Krista’s, and who knew when it’d break through and seize its loot. It could happen tonight…”-from chapter 5

Chapter vibes:

giphy-10

giphy-7

giphy-6

Coryn Aesthetic!

Brown Plain Collages Facebook Post (2)

SYNOPSIS TIME!

“With long snaking roads enshrouded by dense woodland and only smatters of clarity along the rolling hills, the beautiful countryside of Bellsferry was the perfect place for predators to stalk.” Coryn knows fate when she’s pricked by it–she thinks.

In a world where American law has been overthrown, and wanna-be supernatural, self-made vampires exist–who by the way, are really creepy and demented and have started preying on the small town of Bellsferry–there also exists Coryn, a twenty-three-year-old single mother who’s just trying to survive through life–and give her daughter a somewhat decent one. But when Coryn is taken under her gunslinging neighbors’ wings and something…otherworldly happens, forget decent; she and her daughter’s lives are now even more dangerous than before. Sigh. That’s what happens when you accidentally become the only real nemesis to the deranged psychopaths who have iron-gripped your hometown.

Since before the demolition of law, Coryn grew up surviving through life, but now she has to protect not only herself and her seven-year-old daughter, but their entire town–doesn’t she?

 

Have you been following along? If so, what are your thoughts so far? Got a WIP you’re working on? Are you on Wattpad? Let me know! Happy reading! -Natasha

Do you make image quotes from your stories?

Pinterest got me starting to make quote images from my books and stories. I also make some for Instagram from time to time. I use quotes I really liked and I think they’ve generated some interest. What about you? Have you made image quotes for your stories? Feel free to share your Pinterest links with them or Instagram account with them. Here’s some of mine from my latest WIP (available on Wattpad), a New Adult urban fantasy, Coryn of Bellsferry: Blood Thieves:

Hunter2 copy

mohamed-nohassi-531501-unsplash-2

sasha-freemind-186664-unsplash

bryan-minear-317365-unsplash

 

Happy discussing!

ricardo-cruz-31577

“Hunter” Chapter 3 of “Blood Thieves” is Here!

I’m really excited for where this new adult urban fantasy story is going AND for the introduction of this special character.

Story vibes in gifs:

Chapter 1:

giphy-10

giphy-11

 

Chapter 2:

giphy-14

giphy-16

giphy-17

giphy-23

 

Chapter 3:

giphy-6

giphy-9

giphy-8

 

Check the story out on Wattpad!

“With long snaking roads enshrouded by dense woodland and only smatters of clarity along the rolling hills, the beautiful countryside of Bellsferry was the perfect place for predators to stalk.”

Coryn knows fate when she’s pricked by it–she thinks.

In a world where American law has been overthrown, and wanna-be supernatural, self-made vampires exist–who by the way, are totally gross and demented and have really started taking over the small town of Bellsferry–there also exists Coryn, a twenty-three-year-old single mother who’s just trying to survive through life–and give her daughter a somewhat decent one. But when Coryn is taken under her gunslinging neighbors’ wings and something…otherworldly happens, forget decent; she and her daughter’s lives are now even more dangerous than before. Sigh. That’s what happens when you accidentally become the only real nemesis to the deranged psychopaths who have iron-gripped your hometown.

Since before the demolition of law, Coryn grew up surviving through life, but now she has to protect not only herself and her seven-year-old daughter, but their entire town–doesn’t she?

I’m a YouTuber: Videos of Funny YA Readings & Relationship Advice for Christian Women

Check out my YouTube channels and feel free to subscribe! Are you a YouTuber? Feel free to share your link in a comment.

Funny bookish channel:

Relationship advice for christian women:

What is it about a book’s first page that keeps you reading?

annie-spratt-475544-unsplash

I’m curious:

What is it about a book’s first page that keeps you flipping?

Are you able to share an example of a book whose first page just grabbed you and held on until the last page? I want to know what book did that for you and why. Then I can go Amazon-“Look inside”-stalk and see if I agree with you or not. 😉 Happy discussing!

ricardo-cruz-31577

You can read ALL of Prodigy Prince on Wattpad – Limited time only!

Prodigy-Prince-Web-Medium NEW THIS

That’s right, folks.

You can read all of Prodigy Prince on Wattpad for a limited time.

Check it out. And if you’re diggin’ it, don’t forget to vote (click the little star icon). And PLEASE DO divulge on me, let me have it, share those blazing thoughts of yours as I do take to heart, mind, and keyboard, what you think. Feedback has helped loads in my writing journey, and I’m excited to share this novel with all of you. Happy reading!

Why Kick-Butt Female Characters in YA Are Getting Frustrating

5602e5362454b

YA books are rife with “I can kick a man’s behind and then some” kind of young women and it’s aggravating to say the least. Why, as a woman, do I feel this way?

Because in reality, we girls often tend to be less PHYSICALLY strong then men, and often times, more emotional.

But somewhere along the line, this lie, this message began to fester that because we women are different in those ways, we are lesser and so we must work our tails off to strive and be stronger in every way possible than a man.

It’s rather frustrating because we women have our own fortitudes and feminine nature that make us different and unique and beautiful and COMPLEMENTARY to our fellow men, not LESSER than. But because of the lie, we now despise those natural, complementary elements like nurturing, gentleness, often times beauty, etc., instead of embracing them, and we become wanna-be men–whether we realize it or not!

We are not proving we are better by trying to do everything they do, instead, we are showing an insecurity about our own identities and natural feminine design.

I think the most beautiful women are ones who are confident in their femininity and own it. They own motherhood, beauty, gentleness, etc. and rather than try and compete with and defeat their fellow man, they complement and support them. These women know it isn’t about rivalry because there’s nothing to prove: I am woman, beautiful as I am, you are man, different and I respect your differences.

I have to be careful myself not to cater to this mindset when writing my female characters, because truly, rather than edifying, I believe this message is hurtful to young women who already battle with enough lies about women, to now be all the more insecure about and loathe their femininity.

I love my long hair. I know I despise the gym and I don’t care. I would never pick a fight with a man, and if a man did try and hurt me, I’d pray there was a stronger one around to take him out on my behalf. Like this man I read about who helped a woman who couldn’t defend herself against another man trying to sexually assault her in broad day light with many turning their cheek. And this guy, who took on a group of vicious goons–apparently both men AND women–attacking an elderly woman.

I adore and respect man’s innate desire to protect, and I’m extremely thankful for when they do! Don’t get me wrong, I have a desire to protect my children and friends, but I know there are some foes capable men would do better at defending against than I. On the flip side, I know of many women who are better at caring for children than men. They have an innate wisdom and careful nurturing knowledge that many men seem deficient of. Leave a man with the kids and I’ll tell you, he ain’t better at it than mom. Again, we’re different, we complement one another, and that’s a beautiful thing.

What would man be without woman? What would woman be without man? But I’m afraid with the feminist message which, underneath it all, is truly anti-woman, there will be more and more imitation men out there and less and less genuine women.

Killing Your Characters

So killing off characters in your story: is it fun for you, or torture?

I’ve been on both sides of this fence, and I can say that now, it’s leaning toward more fun. For me, there’s something about the shock of it, the later oh-so-hoped for justice, the real-ness it adds to the danger and the story in general, and of course, the emotions it stirs. But what say you? I wanna know your reasons as to why you enjoy killing characters in your story, or why you hate it. Let the discussion begin!

Fantasy Friday: “The Academy’s Royal Resident and Rival” – Through Elisena’s Eyes Part 2, Chapter 3 (Short Story)

I know it’s not Friday again. I’m working on it. Feel free to let me know what your thoughts are on the story so far. Ugh, that rhymed. Check out the previous chapters here. Happy reading!

28a957abce81948396e03b68e6b006ca

A glowing white orb pulsed above me. With a low hum, its gentle pace mirrored my heartbeat.

“Elly,” Javin’s strained voice said, and his prickling anxiety itched my skin. He sat in an old armchair next to the bed I lay in, covered by ivory sheets. My closed umbrella leaned against a small, wooden end-table. An open window on the back wall revealed nearby orange trees brightly lit beneath the afternoon daystar.

“How long have I been unconscious?”

“An hour.” Javin leaned over and brushed aside a strand of frizzy brown hair from my forehead. “What were you thinking? Why didn’t you have your umbrella open?”

“How’d you know I didn’t have it open?”

His eyes narrowed and anger’s stinging heat rubbed against my cheeks. “Eldin told me.”

My face burned. “How long was he here?”

“For as long as he could stand me.”

Lying’s rapid pulse harassed my knees. I sat upright. “Be honest, Javin.”

He sighed. “He was here until Miss Alesia made him go to second lesson.”

Now my stomach knotted from my own emotions. Eldin had to be told to leave me? He probably just felt bad for me like usual. This isn’t the first time I had a breakdown in front of him. “Well,” I said, “you’re not the only one who pities me.”

Javin sighed again. “We don’t just pity you, Elly. We care about you.”

“Because I’m weak and pathetic.”

The smoothe warmth of compassion stroked my back. “You’re not weak or pathetic. Except with a sword.”

I huffed. “No more than you are obnoxious and creepy with the girls you like.”

“Listen, sis’, one day I’ll find a girl who’s adventurous enough to soar over the mountains with me in a roto sack.”

“And one who’s brave enough to put up with your creature stench.”

“Hate to break your nose clamp, but you’ve often smelled just as bad.”

As Javin laughed, I back-handed his chest. “Only while working in the farm for a few hours.”

His laughing dwindled and a blend of concern’s hot swell, caution’s soft rub, and love’s heart-encompassing warmth emanated from him. His eyes faded to lavender. “You know I love you, Elly. And I just want what’s best for you.”

“You mean what’s best for your sanity.”

“Mostly, yes.” He rubbed his dirty-nailed hands against his thighs. “I don’t think Eldin is the best for you.”

I glared at him.

“But I don’t think he’s the worst either.”

I raised an eyebrow and my heartbeat quickened, causing the white vital monitoring orb above me to flicker. Javin glanced at it and then took a long breath.

“Did he…say something to you?”

Javin lowered his lavender eyes. “Maybe.”

I tossed the covers aside and jumped to my feet. “What did he say?”

The door opened and a blue-eyed, dark-bunned woman in a white dress bustled into the room. She stopped beside me and pressed a warm hand against my forehead before slowly moving her palm from left to right in front of my face. She dropped her hand and smiled. “You are all better now.” She looked at my umbrella. “I suggest you keep that open during all of your lessons.”

I gave a nod and grabbed it.

“And that you get something to eat.”

I stiffened as the dull pang of a headache pushed against the back of my skull. I could maybe have a few sweet-stems for midday meal. But at the moment, eating didn’t matter more than finding out what Eldin told Javin. I clipped my umbrella to my back and scurried from the room, Javin trailing. “What do you have for second lesson?”

“Knowledge,” I replied as we traversed into a small lobby with wooden chairs. Lowering my voice while we walked out of another door and into the corridor, I eyed Papa-twin. “What did Eldin tell you?”

A heavy puff of protection blew against my face as Javin spoke. “That I wasn’t the only one who would look after you.”

“Look after me?” I groaned. “Ugh, it’s like I have two big brothers. Wonderful.”

“Elly, I saw the way he looked at you while you laid there slobbering in your sleep.”

My neck burned as my heart jumped. “I drooled!”

Javin snickered. “Nah, I just wanted to see your reaction.”

I punched his bicep. “One day I’ll learn how to throw a solid punch and leave both of your arms bruised.”

“I’ll believe it when I feel it.”

I brushed my hair behind my ear and twirled my umbrella. “So…how did he look at me?”

Javin sucked his teeth, and discomfort scraped my calves. “I don’t want to be your little love mediator.” He straightened. “I take that back. I would like to stay right smack dab in the middle of you two until he proves he is more worthy than the Supreme Prince of Zephoris himself”–Javin halted. His mouth fell open. Confusion’s high ring buzzed in my ear. I snatched my umbrella and opened it before following Javin’s stare. My knees weakened. I swallowed as my heart raced. In the commons, above the cobblestone fireplace, etched into the wood, smoking letters spelled: Disappear like your brother, Supreme Prince. 

Sweat dampened my hairline. What did this vile message mean? Was this a joke? Did Supreme Prince Tane visit the academy? And what happened to Prince Nuelle?

Javin clasped my hand and pulled me to the right into the Hall of Enri.

“What are you doing?”

“Sending you home.”

“What?” I yanked my hand free.

Javin pointed back toward the commons. “That is why I didn’t want you coming here. I knew this wasn’t a good idea.”

“Well it wasn’t your decision to make.”

“But I was right, wasn’t I?”

“Right about what? We don’t even know what that message means.”

Javin’s voice rose. “That’s called a threat, Elly. And whoever was bold enough to burn that into the wall’s of Supreme King Nifal’s academy is dangerous.”

My hands trembled. Yes, the fact that anyone would have the nerve to vandalize the walls of this sacred place, this place of honor, instituted by the very maker of us all and threaten his son was terrifying. Whoever did this was either deranged, highly intoxicated, or just…overflowing with deadly evil.

Javin grabbed my hand again and walked forward. I shook myself free. As Javin slowly turned to me with nostrils flaring, I tried to steady my increased shaking. “I’m not leaving.”

“You’re not staying either.”

“I was invited to this academy by the Supreme King. How can I abandon this great call and honor after his very son has been threatened?”

“Because it isn’t your place to protect him, Elly! You’re not a Sentry!”

“I’m at a knight-building academy. I was called to protect our people.”

“Elly, look at me!” He pointed at the thin scar lining his eyebrow and descending to his cheek. “You can’t even swing a sword. Come on, you weren’t made for this so stop trying to be something you’re not.”

Squeezing my umbrella stick, I spun around and marched back into the commons.

“Elly, please.” Javin followed. “Will you listen to me for once!”

I mounted one of the stone platforms beside the desecrated fireplace.

Javin peered at me with glassy eyes. “Please, Elly. I can’t lose you, too.”

A pang struck my heart. Ever since Mother left, he’d become overly protective. He believed he had to cling tightly or he’d lose whatever he held onto. And he was right. He could lose me. I could walk onto a path I’d never return from, but in the end, that choice belonged to me, not him.

“Second floor.” At my command, the platform jolted into the air. Tears blurred my eyes as I looked down at Javin, staring up at me with the same face he had as he watched our mother fly away for good.

The platform rose through a rectangular opening in the ceiling and then stopped. The trumpet indicating the end of second lesson blared through the corridor. Doors on either side of me opened and prodigies poured into the hallway. Gossiping chatter filled my ears. “I can’t believe Prince Nuelle is at the academy.”

My heart skipped. So one of King Nifal’s sons was here. But why would Prince Nuelle leave his palace in Agapon and come here? Sweat moistened my back, making my tunic stick to my skin. Was the message in the commons true? Did Tane disappear? And if so, where to and why?

As I strode forward, a quiet stillness suddenly embraced me; a strong, immovable peace I’d never experienced before. It steadied my weakened knees and trembling hands and sparked something in my chest…hope.

I don’t know what my purpose is, or why King Nifal gave me this gift, but I have this feeling in my heart that the answer is right here inside these halls, waiting for me to discover it.


Read the next chapter HERE.

thrine2