And book three of The Last Dragon Charmer is titled….

REALM BREAKER (The Last Dragon Charmer #3)!!!  The title still could change but I don’t *think* it will. I’m revising REALM BREAKER now. I got a great editorial letter from my editor and good input from my agent, so my brain is full of ideas. IDEAS! Lots of then. Thanks to Jocelyn and David for those. I feel a bit overwhelmed, too, but mostly feel sparkly and amazed that I’m working on book three! Honestly, I don’t know how I managed to write three books.

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I have lots of work ahead of me. I have to edit and think and make the draft better. There is so much work to do. So much work to do.  That’s how I feel at the beginning of a revision, or a draft, or a story. Writing is hard! And fun…definitely fun, too.  But also HARD…

Lisa Simpson Writing

My Best Procrastination Tips.

Currently, I need to finish my first draft of my book three (title to be announced). But there are other things I need to do first, both important and not-so-important. And since I like lists – and, really, who doesn’t like lists – I’m posting this as a list of the top ten things that help me procrastinate.

TOP TEN BEST PROCRASTINATION TIPS with estimated time used.

Daria

10. Vacuum the house. Clean the bathroom. Wash the dog. It’s hard to get work done when the floor is dirty, the bathroom isn’t spotless, and the dog smells bad. These are also great things to do because they’re the things I put off when I don’t have something more important to finish. (Procrastination time: 1-2 hours)

9. I really need to read a book, some fanfiction, or maybe watch some anime. (Procrastination time: 2-4 hours)

8. Netflix just released a new series so I’m going to watch the entire first season before I get to work. My concentration will be ten times better afterwards. Wait. You’ll see. (Procrastination time: ~14 hours)

Netflix

7. There is this other book idea I have. I feel totally inspired to write about it.  Like I need to write the whole book right now Maybe I’ll make a playlist to listen to while writing it. I’m so ready to write this book that isn’t due at all. (Procrastination time: 3 hours – the amount of time I can write anything before needing a break to vacuum.)

6. You know what really inspires me – The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy. Although my work is due in mere days, it only makes sense to spend one of those watching Legolas shoot orcs. It’s important. (Procrastination time: ~10 hours)

Legolas

5. Search for gifs that I can use on my blog. My blog doesn’t have enough. It needs more and it needs them now. (Procrastination time: 30-45 min)  NOTE: GIFS ADDED TO POST AT THIS POINT.

4. Think. Stare. Think. Thinking and staring and thinking take time and energy.  (Procrastination time: 3-5 hours)

3. Call my brother to chat. For me, this option is only available after midnight. He stalks the night, never in sunlight is he seen. (Procrastination time: 1 hour)

2. Take a nap.  (Procrastination time: 1.5 hours)cat nap

1. INTERNET. (Procrastination time: Unlimited until food or sleep are necessary)

cat internet

 

After all that, it’s time to get to work.

Flash Fiction Fantasy For Fun

Also, ain’t alliteration awesome. Anyway…

Flash fiction is fiction shorter than a short story. I couldn’t find exact agreement on exactly how much shorter than short stories flash fiction should be. After reading some different things, I decided to go with Grant Faulkner’s ‘less than 1000 words’ definition which is nicely described by him here in the NY Times opinion pages.

lightning strike slow mo

That being said, part of what I talked about at my first author visit was writing without expecting it to be perfect or necessarily good before the first, second, third, or even fortieth revision. It’s easier to write when not encumbered by expected perfection. It’s okay with me if what I start with is somewhat terrible.

It occurred to me, too, that if I kept it short and flashy, I could do some writing at author visits and with the kids and people attending. Then I thought, hmmm, I should probably write some flash fiction on my own first. Practice a bit. So I decided to sit down, write some six-word fantasy stories, and not worry about quality…

Sadly, I couldn’t think of any six word fantasy stories at first.

I did, however, come up with a six word memoir. Here it is in all it’s six word glory:

I teach. I write. I smile.

There aren’t any dragons in it, but I think it counts as a six word memoir.  Then I started thinking about how if I change one word, it takes on an entirely different meaning:

I teach. I write. I try.

I teach. I write. I cry.

I teach. I write. I scream.

I have to admit, at this point, I was greatly enjoying my six word memoirs. So, of course, I decided to go dark. (Please note the six word stories below are actually fictional.) Here are my dark ‘memoirs’

I teach. I write. I lie.

I teach. I write. I kill.

Interestingly enough, I became inspired enough to try some six word fantasies. Here are my first two:

The crown falls. I catch it.

The crown falls. We are free.

I also saw a piece of flash fiction on twitter that started with ‘last words’.  I realized I could write lots of flash fiction six word fantasy stories by starting with those two words and adding four other ones:

Last words: Dragons have big teeth.

Last words: She can’t summon lightning.

Last words: But unicorns are friendly.

Six word stories turned out to be fun AND addictive. It was difficult, but eventually it was time to increase my word count. I wrote a story that took an entire paragraph. I’m not sure how others will like it, but it was my favorite thing I wrote during my flash fiction experimenting.  And I don’t think it would have come to me if I hadn’t first written I teach. I write. I smile.   So here is my flash fiction fantasy that’s more than six words but many words less than a thousand:

THE NEXT STOP

Her dark hair is singed and her shoulder is red from a dragon’s bite. She still clutches her broken sword. She doesn’t know she’s dead yet. They rarely do. The driver tries to explain as she steps onto the bus.

“I didn’t lose,” she says.

“Maybe not,” the driver says, “but you still died.” He motions her to take a seat. “I’m here to take you to what comes next.”

She frowns like she doesn’t believe him, but she walks back to the third row and slumps into the seat. They never argue too much.  

He drives to the corner of Main and Bramble, then slows for the next passenger.  He’s not surprised to see the dragon. It has scales that look tougher than metal. Half a sword is buried in its chest.

The driver waves the dragon aboard, and points him toward the larger area in the back.

As the dragon passes the swordswoman, he reaches into his chest, pulls out the half a sword, and hands it back to her. She takes it. Neither speak.

The dead have no enemies.