Saturday, October 29, 2011

New Blog. Again. XD

No, I didn't change the address of my new blog. It's still here. I just thought I'd make another post, just in case the followers on blog spot didn't realize it. ;) I've noticed that a bunch of my click-ins on wordpress come from here, actually, which is pretty interesting.

Mercia Dragonslayer

Monday, October 10, 2011

Wordpress again...

Okay, so I'm moving completely to Wordpress. Here's the link to my new blog. I probably won't be posting anything on here anymore, because it's too difficult for me to keep up with TWO blogs that are basically the same thing. XD

Mercia Dragonslayer

Thursday, September 22, 2011


Hello, all!

So! I've moved to The reason I moved is because wordpress will let me create a whole website, instead of just a blog with a few extra pages. Don't worry, I'll still keep posting here! I just wanted to mention that.

~Mercia Dragonslayer

Murderous Author

(I feel compelled to warn you of the content within–there are significant spoilers for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K.Rowling, Forest of Lies by Rachel Garner, andLove and Forgiven by me. I have a feeling most people know what happens in the latter two, anyway.)

Death is great!

Oh, yes. Death in all its marvelous, emotional, wonderful glory is definitely great. Now, before the police intervene, let me explain—I don’t mass murder people. Instead, I examine the emotional impact of deaths in stories, especially in fantasy, and turn them into general applications. The goal of every story, after all, is to create emotion.

The death of Severus Snape creates significant emotion. Throughout each of the Harry Potter novels, Severus continues to harass and demean Harry. He snarls, snaps, and sneers at anything and everyone—and I hated him for it. Yet, when he, of all people, became a victim of Voldemort’s insane quest for power, I felt a sense of helplessness and despair. If Snape, a much stronger character than Harry, couldn’t defeat the villain, how could Harry possibly do it?

The ending of Severus Snape demonstrates an important principle that I apply to my own stories. The death of any major character should build tension. When a major character dies, the hero realizes just how much he stands to lose. The reader sits on the edge of his chair, eyes glued to the page. Will the hero make it? Will he win against the dastardly villain? These questions spur the reader on through the story.

Forest of Lies (by Rachel Garner) sent my emotions on a roller coaster ride. I spent the several chapters leading up to this black moment worrying over the mentor, Robin, who nearly kills himself in an accident. The moment Much gasped his last words and slumped over, I stared at the page in shock. Surely not Much—not lovable, hilarious, defenestrating Much-of-Nottingham! I recovered quickly enough to shoot the author an email. “How could you?” I cried, tears streaming down my cheeks. “He was my favoritecharacter!”

From this story I learned the principle of misdirection. If a writer can mislead the reader to agonize over a specific character, the death of another will shock him. Very simple, yet effective. Shock from the death of a favorite character gets to a reader in a way that angst and despair can’t.

I think a character by the name of Kahil Ranz hurt me the most to kill. I loved him. I knew his life plans for after the story. I desperately wanted him to live. I even wrote a scene placed after Kahil “died,” where I intended to show a missing body to imply that Kahil somehow got away. (My best friend promptly disabused me of that notion by deleting the scene and inserting Kahil’s funeral instead.) So too, other readers beat at the virtual doors of my email, wondering whether I really exterminated the character they loved the most.

I saw that if I love the character, the audience may very well love him, too. Kahil ended up as the most developed of all because I made him my favorite character. I spent hours and hours setting up Kahil’s back-story. I honed his wit and dialogue, his clothing and weapons. I knew every single thing about this character, and it hurt me to kill him. The readers saw this; my emotion passed on to them.

I also applied this principle in the novel I wrote in 2009. My favorite character of that story came to a place where he either gave himself up or let his son die. Of course, the theme of my story dictated that he should sacrifice himself for the hero, but I loved him too much!

“I don’t want to kill him!” I wailed to my mother.

My mother, the ever-sensible one, said, “Does it make the story better?”

“Well, it would, but I really don’t want to kill him!”

She hummed and spared a glance at my favorite school curriculum on the shelf. “Well,” she said, in tones even my writing teacher Mr. S couldn’t emulate, “If you don’t want to do it, doesn’t that mean you should?”

Amidst tears of sorrow, Caradoc died.

The principles of story-telling stay basically the same for each element in the story—good dialogue, interesting prose, intriguing plot, and meaningful details. But, I believe that a good character death will make the story stand out. Plots are a dime-a-dozen. Anyone can write about a Chosen Hero off to save the world in light of a prophecy. Few writers, however, can turn a character death into something emotional using tension-building, misdirection, and author adoration, or even all three.

~Mercia Dragonslayer

(I desperately wanted to put this somewhere, seeing as I labored for weeks over it. I’ll probably post a drawing this afternoon–maybe even something relevant to this!)

Monday, September 19, 2011

SS 3: Inverted Drawing

All right, so I haven't been exactly diligent in updating my blog. I sincerely apologize for that... I suppose I need to make myself a schedule, don't I?

So for today's drawing, I decided to try an inverted picture. I drew my horse and shaded it opposite--so all the light areas were shaded dark, and vice versa.

Then I scanned the picture, opened it in Paintshop Pro, and inverted the coloring.

Very interesting, no? If I were to use it for anything I'd touch it up a bit, but it looks interesting the way it is. I also realize the shading isn't fantastic--but why don't YOU try shading backwards? It's more difficult than the right way.

Friday, September 2, 2011

SS 2: Jumping Horse

Welcome to the second day of September Sketches! This is, again, another tutorial that isn't really a tutorial of a jumping horse. This is another pose I've practiced so much that I can practically draw it in my sleep! ...Okay, not really... Mm, and I adjusted the gamma correction again on this one to darken the lines. Really, my scanner does a terrible job of, well, scanning.

Here's the text on the picture, starting with the text under "September 2, 2011," and continuing clockwise.

1. Today, I drew a jumping horse. The pose, I've found, is fairly simple to draw and adjust to the diff. jumping phases. In this drawing, you can see the position of the guide circles as opposed to the basic kidney bean.

2. Notice the circles are slightly squished, because the body is elongated.

3. Mercia Dragonslayer (My drawing again, folks! Couldn't have guessed it!)

4. I ignore the hoof/shoulder/leg correlation here--I just draw an angle that looks right.

5. I adjusted the head and nose, distinguishing them and making them more realistic rather than "cartoonish." (This sounds funny. I didn't adjust the head and nose as I drew them--I adjusted them from yesterday's picture. Yesterday's didn't have the same amount of detail and was basically two circles with two lines. I added the dips and curves you would see on a real horse's face.)

6. The mane is still light, but now flowing. Don't make it too dark!

7. Same for the tail.

I didn't add in the note at the bottom in order, because it pertains to the picture as a whole.

8. Remember, the horse is moving in this picture. You must keep him relaxed and free-flowing. (I.E., don't make him all straight lines and cubes. Let your wrist flow from one shape to the next. Use plenty of curves.)

Please comment and tell me if any of those directions were unclear or confusing, and I'll do my best to be better in the future.

Yesterday, I told you to practice, practice, practice, and you'll eventually get better. This statement is completely true, but there is also another element--observing. Go out to a farm and watch a horse. See how he moves, how he stands, how he acts. Observe the way his legs bend and how his hooves are angled. This will help you better draw him later on.

~Mercia Dragonslayer

Thursday, September 1, 2011

SS 1: Basic Pony

Today marks the beginning of September Sketches, where I will post a different drawing or drawing tutorial every day in September. Today, I decided to make a tutorial, of sorts, for a pony. Note--I darkened the lines in Paintshop, because the scanner butchered them. You can also click on the picture to see it full-size. I tried to have it that way in the post, but it messed up my formatting.

Hopefully you can see the writing, but if not, I'm including it here below--starting with the paragraph under "September 1, 2011" and continuing clockwise around the picture.

1. Basic horse/pony. More pony, really. If you look closely, you can see the guide circles I used. If you build off the circles correctly, you can use the remnants to shade your horse. (Above: Kidney bean shape for body)

2. Mercia Dragonslayer (My signature. While I'm on it, please remember that this is my artwork and I'd like you to respect that by not copying it!)

3. See, the line of the shoulder is parallel to the front line of the hoof. So the leg should be angled like this: (see picture for diagram)

4. Nose circle should be larger than the knee.

5. The mane should be light and whispy, but with enough solidity to distinguish it from your shading.

6. Highlight approx. in the middle. The neck rises there, the mane should be shaded and drawn accordingly. (You'll have to look at the drawing to see what I mean.)

This concludes my first ever drawing tutorial, of sorts! I hope you enjoyed it and/or learned from it. Remember, practice makes perfect--if you practice the same form over and over again, you'll perfect it. Keep holding on!

~Mercia Dragonslayer

Wednesday, August 31, 2011


All right, so I said I'd talk about poisonous Japanese blowfish today. Er--I decided I'd talk about something else, seeing as I already had to type this up for school. It's very interesting and, to me, somewhat disturbing.

When I first read my article on Manzanar Relocation Camp, I was shocked. I had never known, before, about the Japanese internment camps. To read about such an obvious lack in my education hurt me. If this was such an important period in history with such enormous discrimination, why don’t we know about it? Why isn’t it taught in schools today alongside the Nazi Concentration Camps and the aftermath of Pearl Harbor Day?

The government shut down American branches of Japanese banks. Men, women, and children, sometimes second-generation American or even adopted by Americans, were carted off to Manzanar and other camps. Religious and political leaders were arrested for no apparent reason, with no warning or explanation to their families. In the relocation camps, families were expected to survive in “apartments” the size of two horse stalls.

The worst came after the Japanese gained permission to leave. Those with less than $500 in savings received a measly $25, a train ticket, and food on the road. How could this ever be payment for what those people suffered? Even the $20,000 to survivors offered by President Reagan in 1988 and the official apology offered by President Bush in 1989 could never come close to repaying the Japanese for what we did to them.

I found this article at, written by a man named Martin Kelly. Kelly taught social studies for eight years at a secondary school and developed the AP History curriculum for the Florida Virtual School. From my research, he appears to be well-educated and I found no reason to doubt the information he placed in his article.

You can read the original article here.

How many of you knew about this or learned it in history? Comment and let me know!

~Mercia Dragonslayer

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

I Learned Something New Today.

I learned something new today--something I definitely never wanted to know about. Let's visit some foreign countries and take a taste of their cuisine.

NOTE: NOT FOR THE SQUEAMISH, OKAY? Really. If you get sick easily, don't read this. I watched a video in Sociology today and I want to write about what I--er--learned. I think it might help me retain it better.

Hanoi, Vietnam

Imagine sitting down to dinner in Hanoi and glancing over the menu. You see "snake," and you and your friends decide to try it. The waiter nods. He comes back minutes later with a squirming, hissing, venomous snake. With a deft motion, he uses a small scalpel knife to slit open the snake's chest and drip the blood into a clear glass. A moment later the still-beating heart drops into a shot glass along with a small sampling of blood. This glass goes to the host while the other members of the party receive the same glasses with blood only.

I kid you not. This is considered a delicacy.

Tomorrow, I bring you the deadliest fish in the world--and where it's eaten.

~Mercia Dragonslayer

Monday, August 29, 2011

Thirty Days of ______

Today, bored, I googled "Thirty Day Blog Challenge" to see what would come up. The first site that appeared had Matt Cutts' Try Something New For Thirty Days challenge. You can watch it below.

I thought, "Why not do it? What have I got to lose?" Besides my dignity, of course. Instead of posting sporadically on my blog, I shall now attempt to post on it daily in accordance with a monthly theme. September's theme is drawing. October's is original fiction. So on and so forth.

Wish me luck, all! If you have any ideas for themes (or something you want to challenge me on!), go ahead and post it in a comment below.

~Mercia Dragonslayer

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


Someone on OYAN (oh, yes, OYAN! Again!) asked whether fanfiction was acceptable to write for the One Year Adventure Novel curriculum. I, of course, had a bit to say on the subject.

First of all, there are fanfiction sites out there (most reknowned of which is where people write stories like this and post them for the world to see. You can't publish them, or make money off them, or claim the characters (unless they are original) or the story world as yours. I'm also fairly sure you can't enter such a story into the OYAN contest, although you may have to check with Mr. or Mrs. S on that. For your OYAN, it is best that you come up with original characters, an original storyline, and an original story world. This will help you in the long run.

(Translation for those of you who are NOT OYANers: You can't publish fanfiction without permission from the author or their publisher. You will also get in BIG trouble if you claim the story world or canon characters as your own.)

People have had different views on fanfiction. Some say it hurts one's writing, others say it helps. I think it can do both. If you write fanfiction like I do, mainly for self-entertainment, then I don't think it can hurt. It's extra writing experience, extra time spent making characters feel real. You have a template to start with and all you have to do is add a plot and run with it. It's good for developing good spelling and grammar skills, as well as a consistent writing style (or several, even!). I also use fanfiction as a way to write consistently. If I don't feel like working on a particular story one day, I open up my fanfiction and work a bit on that. 

However, if you ALWAYS write fanfiction and never come up with anything original, this will hurt your original fiction in the long run. It will sap your imagination. If you write it instead of your original novels, you will find yourself getting lazy and not wanting to work on the things you should. It DOES take up a lot of your time--and why write something you can't make money off of, some say. All these are things to consider.

So my point here is that while it is a bad idea to write fanfiction for the OYAN curriculum (or for your first "novel"), you can certainly save the idea for later. After you've written your first original novel, it will be good writing practice. It will help you write consistently. That's a good thing.

Peace out, yo.

~Mercia Dragonslayer

PS: I apologize profusely. It appears that I cannot remove the white highlighting... Oops.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Greatest Author

First of all, I'm terribly sorry that I haven't updated in a while. I've been busy (and stressed!) working at a camp in the northeastern US. Therefore, no time for writing at all, even, on my stories, let alone blog posts. But I've got a bit of extra time on my hands and I have something interesting to say.

Lately, God has been revealing Himself to me through writing. No, not other people's writing--though that has helped a bit. Not even through my own writing (at least not recently). Through writing in general.

We, as writers, are called to a Special Purpose For God. We all are, as children of God, but I feel a specific calling as a writer to share the vision that God has given me in order to show the world His love.

"Then the LORD answered me, 'Write the vision. Make it clear on tablets so that anyone can read it quickly.'" ~Habakkuk 2:2
This is a verse that shows me my purpose as a writer. I take The Truth and write it out for the world to see.

That's writing. Truth versus Lies. Love versus Hatred. Good versus Evil. Every possible struggle between the side of Light and the side of Darkness has already been documented in the greatest True Story every written. Our Heavenly Father and the Author of our Salvation has written out the plans of our lives before we were even born. He planned every single instant of every single day, as well as the beautiful story arc of the world.

God is the Ultimate Storyteller.

~Mercia Dragonslayer

Monday, June 20, 2011

Solving Character Flatness

Hello, all! First of all, I'm very sorry for not posting anything in so long. I've been quite busy.

I did, however, type this up for someone on OYAN who was asking for help in a character lounge. Enjoy, and please forgive me for any lack of continuity.

In my experience, putting a character inside a lounge doesn't do much for getting rid of "flatness." If anything, it really just gives you a chance to listen to how the character speaks, and shows you how he reacts in different situations. This is all well-and-good, and I'm not putting down character lounges. They do have their purposes.

It looks like what you need to do is flesh out the character in the story itself. I received this bit of critique from someone:

Another way to flesh this out is to help us understand what your characters are feeling. Don't come straight out and say. She was sad. Explain how sadness feels to her. Is there a yanking in her gut? A pull on her heart? 
These elements will help you bring your characters alive. You did a good job with describing WHO the man was--the one who helped her in the beginning. You used simple things like leaning his elbows on his knees and raising an eyebrow. See little things like that help MAKE a character real.

From what I gathered of this advice, it's not the BIG things that make a character real. It's the little things--constantly drumming his fingers on a tabletop, biting his nails when he's nervous, scratching the back of his neck, smirking, sneering. It's all these things. I'll give a few examples of some of my favorite characters of all time and what small things made their personality and character real to me.

The Doctor: Yes, I know, the Doctor is a character from a TV show. But he's still endearing. I'll give examples of the 10th Doctor and the 11th Doctor since they really are different people.

10th Doctor: He rubs the back of his neck when he's exasperated, charms people with just a grin, has a habit of talking a million miles an hour about everything. He runs a hand through his hair, starts half his sentences with the word "Well", and enjoys being "John Smith, Health and Safety!"

11th Doctor: He defends his clothing choices with gusto and has a flair for dramatics. I don't remember many little things, mostly because I've been watching the 9th Doctor recently, but I love the way he always says, "Bowties. Are. Cool." He's also completely oblivious to any innuendoes from other characters, which is both characterizing and hilarious.

Severus Snape (big jump here! XD): He sneers. He leers. He rolls his eyes, his cloak billows, he snarks, he's sarcastic, he unfailingly favors his Slytherins, he glowers. He drawls (goodness, the only British accent I have EVER heard to drawl!), and scowls.

For me, the little things about these characters drew me to them--NOT their past! When you meet each of these characters (well, Snape, really, you know all about the Doctor), you don't know their past. You don't know what influences them. You do, however, see the facade they put up and all their little actions throughout the story. I LURVE SNAPE. *glomps Snape*

Okay, now you know of my undying love for the most hated character in Harry Potter fiction. *cough* Well.


Another person also said to me,

Chapter was nice as far as setting up your plot. Your charctets? Not so much. Give them depth, add more descriptions, tell us more about them. This is the first time we meet them, make the reader fall in love! 
...(from someone else) 
 The plot is strong and the characters seem real. My only suggestion is maybe try to add a few more faults/habits to the characters. Not only will it help stir up the plot even more but it can help make the characters memorable.

The first bit of advice is much the same as what I said before. Add small things. Little things. Be descriptive! Don't go around putting out purple prose just for the sake of it (or at all, really), but DO describe the character and how he's feeling.

The second bit of advice is something I struggle with. I'm so used to seeing the big picture of things that I can't focus very well on the smaller parts of a story. Characters need habits and faults. Give your character a nasty habit of snapping "Rubbish!" every time his mother is mentioned. Make him say "BALDERASH!" every time he stubs his toe. Have him swim in the creek next to his house every full moon wearing a purple-spotted body suit, without failure. These little things build character.

I hope you found this information helpful! Thanks for reading.

~Mercia Dragonslayer

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Editing (Oh how I hate it)


You guessed it.

It's editing season. Dreadful, hated, editing season. Well--I correct myself. For the members of the One Year Adventure Novel forums who wish to enter the end-of-year novel contest, it is editing season. I am a member of OYAN, therefore I am in the middle of editing season. And I hate it.

I am currently sitting at the table of one of my dearest friends, typing up a blog post on how much I hate editing while she is plowing her way through my novel, declaring it exciting.

To me, it is an atrocity that should never again see the light of day, but apparently she and several other people have, well, different opinions.

I honestly don't know what makes me think my writing is so terrible. If I look at it subjectively, just as another piece of writing, then it's not so bad after all. The writing is good, decent even.

If I look at it as the author, I hang my head in despair and slam my head against the nearest hard surface. It's awful. My characters are bland, dry, two-dimensional. I hate my novel.

Now, I suppose that at some point I will retract my words of pure hatred and decide I love my novel again; however, that moment is far in my future. So what, you ask, was the point of this blog post? I was merely ranting out my insecurities as an author and offering encouragement to those who are also stuck in the throes of rewriting--you are not alone.

~Mercia Dragonslayer

Thursday, May 5, 2011

A Truly Great Story

I read a story today.

It was just an online story, and though it was well over 100,000 words, it was fanfiction. I won't tell you what fandom it was, or where I read it, because that's completely irrelevant. If the author sees this, I think she'll know what I'm talking about.

Dear Fanfiction Author,

I'm Mercia Dragonslayer, and I want to tell you how your story has changed my life.

First of all, I know it's been, literally, YEARS since you finished this, but I ran across it today and read it, and came out sobbing. It is truly magnificent, and I think you did [author] justice.

And I want to thank you, because you've taught me something about stories that I never should have forgotten. Sure, we should strive for entertainment, and fun, and just for the cause of loving to write. We should write for our neighbors to have something to read. Heck, we can even write to become famous and make money, if we want.

But most of all, we should write to move people. We should write to make a difference and change people.

A truly great story will take humanity and twist it, showing the reader his own hateful self. Because, honestly, there is no hope for humanity. We are all so terrible, horrible, hateful, rebellious. Everything that can be done that is evil, we have done it. A good story takes his hopelessness and magnifies it. We look at ourselves, our evil, hated selves, and want to hide away. Tears flow as we realize that all throughout history, people have tried again and again to purge the human race, but have all failed. We cannot make ourselves better. We will fail.

But a truly great story doesn't stop there. It takes the hopelessness of man and shows the light of hope. There is always a ray of hope--Someone watching down on us, who knows of our depravity and wants to make us better. Someone who CAN make us better. A truly great story points us to this Someone, even if it never mentions Him by name.

I don't know if you know Him, but I think that your story points to Him anyway, whether you want it to or not. Because I believe that a truly great story has to point to the Maker and Savior of all things, because otherwise it wouldn't have a purpose.

I don't know if you'll ever get this, but if you do, please let me know. Your story, fanfiction or no, is a truly great story, and it has completely changed my life. Thank you so much for writing it.

~Mercia Dragonslayer

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Tribute to Elisabeth Sladen

Today, a wonderful and well-loved actress and writer, Elisabeth Sladen, left this world as a result of cancer. To some, she may just be another name in the sea of those lost to death--but to fans of Doctor Who, she is so much more.

Elisabeth Sladen played the role of Sarah Jane Smith, journalist, in both the old Doctor Who series and the new Who. She stayed alongside the Third Doctor (played by Jon Pertwee) and the Fourth Doctor (played by Tom Baker) for three and a half seasons before signing off. She appeared in several episodes later in the series, as well as a number of audio books.

In 2006, Sladen made a new entrance into the revived Doctor Who series in the episode "School Reunion" with the Tenth Doctor (David Tennant). Following this, she became the star of a show focused around her, the Sarah Jane Adventures, a spin-off of Doctor Who.

And now, I give you a tribute to Elisabeth Sladen, AKA Sarah Jane Smith:

The psychic paper didn't tell him everything. Just three words-- "Sarah Jane Smith." That was all.

The Doctor leaned across the consol and pondered the message. Was Sarah Jane in trouble? Was she happy? Getting married again, for real? Well, only one way to find out. He slammed a lever down and clung to the railing for dear life. The TARDIS spun about the Time Vortex, wheezing and groaning, until she finally settled down with a bump.

"Oi, now, where are we?" He glanced at the video feed on his screen. From the far corner, he could just make out a nice, family home further on down the street. "Perfect! Amy, Rory? Come along, Ponds! I'm taking you to see an old friend of mine!"

Two sets of footsteps clambered down the hall, one of them sounding slightly drunk. "Doctor?" Amy's voice came from the depths of the TARDIS. "What was that?"

"Just landed. Come on!" He straightened his bowtie and opened the TARDIS doors.

They all marched down the street, the Doctor in front, and Amy and Rory poking at each other behind him. The Doctor's hearts fluttered with the prospect of meeting Sarah Jane again. Last time--last time, they had almost died, again. "Now," he said, glancing back at Amy and Rory, "we're going to see a dear friend of mine. Her name is Sarah Jane Smith. She's a journalist."

Amy raised an eyebrow. "Ooo, a journalist? Doctor, you're branching out."

"Amy! It's not like that! It's just that she used to travel with me, that's all. I want to see her again. Been a while." He stopped in front of her house and gazed at the massive number of cars in the driveway. "Does anyone else have a bad feeling about this?"

"What? No, maybe she's having a party," Rory suggested.

"Right." The Doctor scampered up to the front porch and rang the doorbell.

A young man with a tear-stained face answered the door. He stared at the little group for a second, then flung his arms around the Doctor and sobbed. "You came! You came!"

The Doctor paused, gulped. "What's wrong? Luke, would you tell me what's wrong?"

"It's Mum! She died!"

His hearts skipped two beats each. Sarah Jane--no, it couldn't be. "What? No, can't be. That's not--"

Luke grabbed his arm and practically dragged him into the house. There, sitting right in the front room, was a large casket. An open casket.

"Oh, my dear Sarah Jane Smith," the Doctor whispered, approaching the casket. He reached out and touched her cheek. It was cold, so cold, and he felt tears dripping down his own cheeks. "I'm sorry. So sorry."

Without conculting him, his mind launched into a recap of all the adventures they'd had together. His regeneration, the ark in space, Gallifrey, the school... It all came rushing back to him. "Sarah... Sarah..."

He found he couldn't say anything else.

There wasn't anything left to say.

Nick's Blog

One of my dearest friends and adopted siblings, bookwyrmnick (or just Nick!), has a blog! It's called The Bookwyrm's Den. I've copied his very first post, as it explains a bit about his blog.

Welcome to the Bookwyrm’s Den, where I, the Bookwyrm, will share my literary-ness with the world, both my own and my reviews of others’. I don’t talk much, so bear with me if I seem a little a-social.

Not only does Nick share his literary-ness with the world, he also shares book reviews, bits of writing, and more. I urge you to check out his blog!

Happy reading!

~Mercia Dragonslayer

Monday, April 18, 2011

Forgiven, Love, Revenge

How did you get your novel idea?

This isn't just for all your stories, this is for your NOVEL. THE novel. The one that was inspired by a song or a dream and the one that you obsess over.
This question was posted on the OYAN forums and I answered it with a history of the Fallor/Jeline trilogy.

I have several books I'm in LOVE with. First and foremost (at the moment, mind) is Revenge. But I can't really start with that. Honestly, I can't. I really have to start with Fallor, the hero, because the story has changed so many times that it really just focuses around him.

I first 'came up' with Fallor five years ago, only he wasn't Fallor--he was Robin Hood. I wrote little dabbles of him and his daughter Brinian. They fought magicians, teamed up with sorcerers, went to the Renaissance Festival (twice!), and had various other adventures. Some of them involved Samii's characters, some of them didn't. I actually have a few of those stories lying about... I should find them.

Samii and I then started a story about an elf named Jeline and a thief named Kahil. At some point in the story, Kahil was stumped by Jeline's problem with the EOR and took her to see his cousin... guess who? Robin Hood! Of course, instantaneous romance ensued between Robin and Jeline, and they defeated the EOR and got married at the end. (What can I say? I was 11 at the time!)

I left him alone for a while and moved on to Belerion, Viggo, Mercia, and others. Of course, he was still inside my head and frequently appeared in conversations between Samii and me, and eventually sparked an idea. How in the world did he become an outlaw in the first place? I thought about the traditional Robin Hood, and talked to Samii about it. She yelled at me and told me that he needed a better "outlaw" name. I kept his first name, but changed his Great and Terrible Outlaw Name to the Fox.

THEN I set about writing down Robin's past. His name was Robert Huntingdon the Tenth, a prince of Hareem. His father let him do archery, and he was older than Kahil. Fallor's brother was named Corin, and he had an unmentioned sister... Rayon came with his son Scarlett at one point, and taught Fallor more archery. Then Corin killed their father for no reason, blamed Robin, and Robin ended up in jail. He escaped and robbed people. When he finally met Jeline, they actually threatened each other.

So that was an interesting little short story, and Samii and I continued to write about Robin and Jeline, and their daughter Brinian, in a huge project we called The Brie Saga. I still have all of it lying around on my computer and in notebooks... It's awful, but maybe I'll type it up sometime and read it just for laughs.

Then two summers ago, Samii and I decided to rewrite the initial Robin/Jeline story (originally titled The Adventures of Robin Hood: The Untold Saga). I changed Robin's name to Fallor and we took off, finishing Love in a mere week. I loved it and poured over it with much love. I loved it so much that I ended up writing Fallor's full backstory for NaNoWriMo '09. Surprisingly, it didn't deviate too much from the short story. I changed names, of course, and added a few random things. So that's how Forgiven and Love came about.

Revenge was born right after we finished Love. We had a full page of random notes and we started writing, but only got to about Chapter 7 before we stopped. I picked it up a couple months ago, applied the Snowflake method to it, and came out with the fourth novel I've ever written.

I feel like the ideals and themes in Revenge are ones the whole world needs to hear--revenge never pays. Forgiveness gives freedom. Great love has no man than this--that he lays down his life for his friends. Forgiveness is something I've struggled with forever, and I feel like God is teaching me lessons even as I write and rewrite these novels. They are very special to me and I want to use them to change the world.

~Mercia Dragonslayer 

Friday, April 15, 2011

Song Fiction

Have any of you ever written a 'song story'? I define it as a story that is either based off a song or written in sync with a song, so that what you read fits in with the song as you read it.

Well, I've written one. Several, actually; however, this one goes hand-in-hand with my novel Revenge. Think of this as a deleted scene of sorts from the novel. Don't worry, this isn't how the actual scene works out! This particular part didn't work after I revised my outline, so now it's just a random, useless, depressing short story.

Warning: if you don't like angst, don't read.

For some reason, I'm really, really good at writing angst.

Here is the song that inspired me (Everything by Lifehouse):

He sat in the crotch of his favorite tree, the one where she always sat. The one where she lay now, neither living nor dying. Just waiting. What could he do?

“All of those years… I wish I’d never found her that day,” Fallor muttered. His mind wandered back to the day that he met Jeline—an ambush on a lonely stretch of road. How absurd that he thought her a man, when she could hardly be mistaken for anything other than a girl of nineteen.

What were his first words to her? “I’m so glad you passed by today. We’re sorely in need of winter clothing and I’ve picked you to donate to our treasury for the cause.” Certainly nothing noble, not by any standards.

Then when she’d touched his cheek. She said he looked so much like his cousin. The cousin who died sacrificing himself for them to have a life together someday.

Her beautiful voice clouded his mind. The way she sang, the way she spoke, the way she looked at him when she laughed filled his heart with longing to hear her again. Oh, what he would give for that!

“Jeline, I’ve lost sight of the light,” he whispered. “I’ve fallen into darkness. I can’t take care of you or—or Brie. I’ve failed you as a husband. And as a father.”

You need to save Brie. You haven’t failed her until you let her go. But in order to save her, you have to let Jeline go.

“I can’t!” Fallor kicked at the porch railing and sent one of the spindles flying. “I love Jeline!”

I know you love her. That is why you must save Brinian.

“Will this bring me peace?” Fallor leaned on the railing and rested his head in his hands.

It depends on your definition of peace. Will having the daughter instead of the wife satisfy you? Will you be able to live with the fact that you left your wife to die and went gallavanting off to save a life not worth saving to you? Is it worth the risk of Brinian not surviving the rescue attempt?

“No!” Fallor screamed. The voice mocked him and everything he stood for—his undying love for Jeline, his devotion to her.

He plunged his knife into the wood of the tree supporting his hut. “I won’t leave her! She is too precious to me!”

Precious is relative. No one even knows Jeline is still alive. Your men have all but forgotten her, and some of them don’t even know she exists. But they all know Brie, and they love her. Is it not a better thing to preserve one life for the good of all than to preserve one life for your own selfish purposes?

It wasn’t for selfish reasons, Fallor cried silently. He kept her alive, praying, hanging onto that thread of hope, that he could keep her alive, that his love for her would someday wake her back up.

But she kept him alive. Without her, he had nothing else worth living for.

She was everything.

He remembered the rain pouring down, the way he swept her off her feet and carried her through the downpour. Their special dance, just for them, symbolic of their secret relationship. She thought him so noble then, so big and strong, able to bear her through everything.

What would she think of him now?

And what if she did wake up? How could he stand before her like this, knowing he’d wasted his life away because of her? She would hate him. Any decent human being would.

No, she wouldn’t. She would be disappointed, yes, but she would just gather him into her arms and let him cry out his sorrows to her. She’d understand.

He had let her down. If only he’d been able to protect her, to warn her, to take her with him that day. When he carried her back in his arms, wavering on the brink of death, he couldn’t catch her.

You must save Brie.

She’d always stolen his breath, and now he took hers.

“Jeline…” Fallor collapsed on the porch deck and sobbed into the wooden floorboards. “I can’t believe I let you down… Disappointed… Hurt…”

His hand reached up and yanked his dagger out of the tree. “Maybe it would end if I didn’t live,” he murmured. “Maybe it would be best for everyone.”

You must save Brie.

“No! Jeline…”

Fallor tried to sit up. “Why?” he roared. “Why did this happen to me?”

His cynical, mocking voice remained silent, for once. Maybe it abandoned him same as everyone else did.

Then he knew. He knew what he had to do—he knew what he wanted most.

Fallor flung the dagger across the porch and swung off the platform onto a rope. A light rain fell as he ducked into the stables. His horse nickered to him. With sweat and rainwater trickling down his brow, Fallor dropped the saddle on and fastened the straps. The bridle came next, then he was back out in the pouring rain.

Only one thought ran through his mind when he emerged into the now torrential downpour: Must save Brie.

“Hiyah!” Fallor slammed his heels into the horse’s side. It reared and plunged forward into the dark night.

If he was going to abandon Jeline, might as well make it worthwhile.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

My Favorite Equation

Oh, and one more thing: I've come up with the perfect equation.

Mercia + Dragonslayer = MD

M + . + D + . = M.D.

M.D. = doctor

doctor = Doctor

I just now thought of this. Congratulate me on the only spark of brilliance regarding math that I will probably ever have...

~Mercia Dragonslayer

Originality and Inspiration

Someone on OYAN posted the following questions and asked fellow students to answer them. He felt that his writing lacked originality, and so he wanted to find out how others got their story ideas and such. I figured I'd post my answers here. What works for me may not work for you, mind, but it's certainly a jumping point.

Where do I get the inspiration to write such a story? I generally get the inspiration for a story from everywhere. Inspiration for novels comes from other novels, bits of dialogue, a man I see on the street... You get the idea. I've had an idea for a short story come the other day in the form of a side view mirror in a car.

Now, just because I get ideas from everywhere doesn't mean I use all of them...

What kind of creativity is required to make something original, yet not on the lines of absurd? It's not just the sit-down-and-think creative process that really makes a good story, but the whole mulling-it-over for me. I can't come up with something 'original' in one creative session. Normally, I write the idea down in its bare-bones form and let it bounce around in my head. If it stays there, it moves on to the next process. If I forget it, then it's gone, and I may or may not go back to it later.

Then I present the idea to other people, mostly the people on the OYAN forums. Depending on their feedback, I will either ditch the story, or work to make it more original through plot bunnies, character development, and setting.

What difficulties and challenges must be overcome in order to reach this goal? Tiredness, boredness, unwillingness to actually finish the story.... etc. Laziness and procrastination are also determining factors. Some days, I just don't feel like writing.

What is your view on the concept of originality in general? There is nothing new under the sun. Everything has been done already, and there's no point in trying to create a truly original story. I think what makes a story 'original,' in our culture's eyes, is the level of emotional impact it has on the reader. Anyone can write a novel about a boy who goes to wizarding school, but the truly original one is the one that made you cry for the last two hundred pages.

Harry Potter, anyone?

I digress.

Maybe someday, I'll write a review of Harry Potter without giving away too many spoilers.

Anyway. A merry day to all, and to all a good night!

~Mercia Dragonslayer

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


I wrote this for a school assignment today (a short story about grief or loneliness) and this is what came of it. This is a fanfiction of Doctor Who concerning the Doctor and Donna, and the Doctor-Donna. I had to look up the script to see what exactly they said, so you might recognize the dialogue.

*SPOILER* Contains MAJOR spoilers for Journey's End. Please don't read if you haven't seen it, because I don't want to be the one who spoiled it for you. That would hurt me tremendously. So... yeah. Also, be warned now: this story contains major angst. Major. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Somehow, he doubts that things will ever be the same. This is the beginning of the end.

He tries so hard not to cry in front of Donna. She’s his best friend—but he can’t live with her, and yet he can’t live without her. This is going to be very difficult. He can already tell.

Donna is rambling. She’s rambling like he used to ramble, like he does ramble. But he knows she can’t stop. “—Charlie Brown, no, he's not real, he's fiction, friction, fixing, mixing, Rickston, Brixton—OW!” She stops, puts a hand to her forehead. There is pain in her eyes, and fear.

“Do you know what’s happening?” he says quietly.

“Yeah.” She blinks several times and looks up at him.

He struggles to put his thoughts into words. “There’s never been a Human Time-Lord metacrisis before now. And—“ Gulps— “you know why.”

“Because there can’t be.” There is a resigned look in her eyes, like she knows what must happen next, but she just can’t accept it, and neither can he.

He steps closer to her, around the console, and she backs away as if she’s terrified of him. Terrified of what has to happen.

“I want to stay!” Donna sobs.

“Look at me,” he says.

She does. They are both crying now, he can’t help it. “I was gonna be with ya, forever,” she whispers.

“I know.” He is tempted to say more, but she opens her mouth again, and words come spilling out, words filled with sorrow and grief and hurt and pain.

“Rest of my life. Travelling. In the Tardis. The DoctorDonna. Oh, but I can't go back. Don't make me go back. Doctor. Please!” Terror is in her eyes and she backs further away from him, almost scrambling. “No!”

He tries hard not to cry any more than he already is and tries to smile. “Donna. Oh, Donna Noble. I'm so sorry. But we had the best of times. The best…” He pauses to get a grip on himself, so his voice won’t shake with his final farewell. “Goodbye.” And he forces his fingers to her temples and closes his eyes.

“No, no, no,” she pleads, trying to push him away. “No! Don’t make me go! No!” The last cry is a little scream as she falls, unconcious, to the grated flooring.

Now he can let the tears stream freely down his face, because there is no one here to see or hear him. There is no one to put an arm around him, to give him a hug, tell him everything’s going to be all right. There will be no one else.

Because he’s ruined everyone’s lives. Ruined. Rose, trapped in an alternate universe. Martha, family torn apart. Astrid, dead. Jack—not dead, at least not permanently. And now Donna, who would never be able to see him again, never go anywhere with him again, never talk to him again. She could never remember.

As he slips his arms under Donna to carry her out of the Tardis, he resolves to never have another companion as long as he lives. He will never bring anyone into his life again, and he will never endanger anyone else.

He will always be alone.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Writing is like bleeding.

"Writing is easy:  All you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead."  ~Gene Fowler

"There's nothing to writing.  All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein."  ~Walter Wellesley "Red" Smith

Some people think that writing is easy. They sit down at their notebooks, typewriters, or computers and think. I think I'll write a novel about cats today, they say, and begin a line of prose. This comes easily for a while, and before they know it, they've churned out a whole page of Chapter One! Oh, glorious moment! They bask in the shining light of the freshest, brightest, most beautiful page on the planet. Now, they say, with a grin, I'll just stop here--good stopping point, after all, and just go to bed. It'll still be here in the morning.

But morning rises and they sit back down with a pencil in hand, only to find that there is nothing left to write. All the inspiration is gone and that 'glorious moment' of the previous day has left. Nothing lingers.

Writing is easy, they say, but it's just not for me.

This. Is. A. Lie.

Writing is not easy. It never will be easy. There is no special pill that you can get that will give you everything you need to write a best-selling novel. You have to grit your teeth and bear on even when it looks like you will fail. Writing is something that you love so much that you strive for it no matter what, even if it feels like you want to knock a hole in the wall with your head.

Because failure is part of being a writer. We will fail--but that's why we rewrite. And edit. And keep on writing.

Writers are failures, and yet we still succeed. That's why people want to be a writer. They admire us! We get to share our opinions with the world and change people one story at a time. We get to stare out the window to see what kind of squirrels reside there, or spend hours on Google looking up the floor plan of Nottingham Castle. How cool is that?

So. There's my little thoughts on how writing is like bleeding. To sum it all up, writing is like bleeding because it hurts. We slave over a single sentence for days, only to have editors slash it and friends kindly suggest we change it to something else. We fail.

But we keep on writing anyway.

~Mercia Dragonslayer

Monday, April 11, 2011


Hello, all!

First of all, I wish to welcome you to my very first blog post! I expect I won't have very much to say tonight, as it's getting late, but I wanted to put something up for everyone to see.

What you can expect from my blog:

  • Helpful writing advice (mostly from my posts on OYAN)
  • Art tutorials (hopefully!)
  • Book and Movie reviews
  • Words to inspire
  • Short stories and excerpts from my novels
  • Thoughts from my Quiet Time with God
  • Thoughts on church sermons
  • And much more! Basically, anything I can think of.
You can also expect a fair bit of randomness and rambling--such is my nature as a female teenage writer. However, I shall try my best to remain on-topic, no matter how hard that seems.

Thank you so much for reading this! I wish you a good day and bid you adieu.

~Mercia Dragonslayer~