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~