Why I'm Participating in NaNoWriMo (Bonus: My Tips for Surviving)

It’s October. As a writer, that means two things to me. The first is that I haven’t posted here in a ridiculously long time, which I sincerely apologize for. The second is that November is nearly here, which means NaNoWriMo is upon us. It’s something you hear about quite a lot as a writer, because it’s kind of a tradition in our field; it’s the big event that a lot of people work towards all year long.

Today, I’m going to be talking about why I’m participating this year, and why you should potentially consider doing the same in the future.

Writing a God-Centered story

A few weeks ago, I read a very gripping, first person, young adult fictional book. Besides the action, plot, twist and turns in this story, I still had a problem with it: the language. You see, the author claimed to be a Christian but the way he wrote the book, never reflected it. Now had I read another one of his books before the one I stumbled upon, I would’ve probably reacted differently. But the truth of the matter is this, there was still cussing taking the name of God in vain, disrespectful to parents/authoritative figures present. Some of the things that I don’t look for in a potential good book.

So, what’s the problem? It's only a teen book?

That’s right! It's a book written for teens and teens are reading it. And as a writer, I want to present something that gives them another option, a better option. An option that no one has to blush at because of the content. Why? Because when I became a writer, I made a promise for one thing and one thing only. To write a God-Centered story.

You see, we live in a “monkey see, monkey do” society. The teens we see in the stores, malls, schools and elsewhere, act upon what they watch, read, and are allowed to get away with. We can’t let them do whatever they want in the name of “self-identity” and then correct them afterward when they’re doing exactly what we have allowed them to do. Or as a friend so beautifully put it… “by reading those things we're teaching them to act that way and then getting upset when they do”.

Instead of exploding at the lack of good, clean, material for our peers or audience to read and glean insight from, why don’t we do something about it? What about writing God-centered stories.

When Characters Come Alive

It's alive!!!!!! Run for the hills!!!!!!


Isn't it true though of every spooky movie? One of my childhood times of hearing this dreadful time was one of the original Veggie Tales movies. Even as writers, we have kinda the same problem when we're in the middle of a story and we are very frequently interrupted by our characters. Sometimes, as the story plot insists and unfolds, we may either, harm this sassy character, or just abruptly kill them just to be resurrected and torment us later because we couldn’t live without them.


Its almost like they’re really alive and not just a figment of our imaginations. In hopes of explaining how this happens, I asked my fellow young writers if they were willing to share conversations that they have with their characters, this is what Cassandra Hamm had to say about it:


Me: Seali, you can’t do that.
Seali: Why not?
Me: *flustered* Because its not okay.
Seali: Why not?
Me: You just kidnapped her!! How are you not understanding why this is not okay?!
Seali: She is my brother’s future mate. *blinks at me innocently* I am just helping Slay.
Me: Seali. *frowns* You need to take her back
Seali: Why?
Me: BECAUSE YOU KIDNAPPED HER.
Seali: She is my future sister. *smiles* Now she will live with Slay and me.
Me: *groans

Character conversations range from something like that to the characters discussing anything that comes up in the story along with the characters involved. Like Joanna's conversation for example:


Me: What would you think if I killed you? 
Character: You can't. 
Me: You want to bet? 
Character: Sure! You, being an author, can only kill a character and make it official by writing it. But me, being your narrator, can't die. Because if you kill me, you can't write it, 'cause I'm not around to write it for you, therefore, it never officially happened, therefore, you can't kill me. *smirks* 
Me: *glares* Some days I hate you. 

Character: Only 'cause you know I'm right.

Or as some conversations might go……

Sale Day (fiction piece)

Hi, all! Today I'm here with a short fiction piece! Hope you enjoy! -Kirstie
Mr. Coleman bustled around the now quiet shop, pulling out things from the shelves, putting other things back, straightening here and there.
Perspiration running down his brow, he glanced at the clock. Sighing with relief, he slowed his efforts. He still had half an hour.

Its a matter of Perspective

Hello my fellow readers, I come to bring you......a matter of perspective. What's that you say? Perspective? Where are you going with this, Natalie? 
Let's look at the definition of the word perspective. The dictionary defines this word as:

A particular attitude toward or way of regarding something; a point of view.

And in writing, that is exactly what we do. In some cases, we write things from the character's point of view or their perspective. I was given my first opportunity to write from a perspective when I was in high school, studying the Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis. One of my assignments was to write the argument of Charn's destruction from the point of view of the Queen's sister. Trust me, it was not an easy task to do but completely fun in the long run. Here's what I mean though, I will first give you the original written scene from Magician's Nephew itself, and then the perspective I had written in high school on the exact same scene. *Please note that all of the characters, names, and original text are from Clive Staples Lewis' Magician's Nephew. All Rights Reserved.*

“It was my sister’s fault,” said the Queen. “She drove me to it. May the curse off all the powers rest upon her forever! At any moment I was ready to make peace-yes and to spare her life too, if only she would yield me the throne. But she would not. Her pride has destroyed the whole world. Even after the war had begun, there was a solemn promise that neither side would use Magic. But when she broke her promise, what could I do? Fool! As if she did not know that I had the secret to the Deplorable Word. Did she think-she was always a weakling-that I would not use it?
“What was it?” said Digory
“That was the secret of secrets,” said the queen Jadis
“It had long been known to the great kings of our race that there was a word which, if spoken with the proper ceremonies, would destroy all living things except the one who spoke it. But the ancient kings were weak and soft-hearted and bound themselves and all who should come after them with great oaths ever even to seek after the knowledge of that word. But I learned it in a secret place and paid a terrible price to learn it. I did not use it until she forced me to it. I fought to overcome her by every other means. I poured out the blood of my armies like water-”
“Beast!” muttered Polly
“The last great battle,” said the Queen, “raged for three days here in Charn itself. For three days I looked down upon it from this very spot. I did not use my power till the last of my soldiers had fallen, and the accursed woman, my sister, at the head of her rebels was halfway up those great stairs that lead up from the city to the terrace. Then I waited till we were so close that we could see one another’s faces. She flashed her horrible, wicked eyes at me and said, “Victory.” “Yes” said I, “Victory, but not yours.” Then I spoke the Deplorable Word. A moment later I was the only living thing beneath the sun.”

One Day in the Journal of a Lightbulb in the Castle of Elysian

Tuesday, September 5, 2017
OK, so I didn't sleep well last night. Neither did the humans, I'm guessing, because they kept getting up in the middle of the night and turning me on.
Anyway, I eventually got back to sleep.
So, at five-thirty this morning, I was resting peacefully, when one of the humans came barging downstairs. He reached for the light switch. I cringed as the electricity surged through my circuits. You have no idea how painful it can be to support such high current.
While the human got his breakfast ready, I appeared bright and cheerful, but in reality, my anger toward his thoughtlessness of my discomfort smoldered under the surface.
Eventually, I came up with the perfect plan. I'd go on strike! So, first chance I got, I broke my filament. Pow! I turned off.
The human startled for a moment, then sighed. He was walking toward the kitchen cabinet before I realized what he was doing. He was going to replace me!!! And if there's one thing a lightbulb likes worse than supporting 120 volts of current, it's smelling the garbage can. So I quickly flickered back on. The human stopped and turned around, obviously shocked. He obviously didn't know that lightbulbs can "blow" and "unblow" of their own choice.
Eventually, each one of the residents of the castle had eaten their breakfast and had gone out. I think some of them went for a stroll in the garden. Anyway, once they left, I had a rest. Let me rephrase that. "We" had a rest. That is, the stove, the teapot, the sink, and I. You see, none of us like being bothered, especially when we've just woken up.
So, once the humans left, we all took a quick nap, followed by a cup of tea and a quick game of cards (we're more accomplished than you thought).
We had set the cat as a lookout, and once she saw the humans coming back from their walk, we all hopped back into our places and pretended to sleep. But we realized, just as the humans walked in, that we had left our teacups and cards on the table!
Obviously taken aback, the humans asked each other about the tea and cards. Eventually, they came to the conclusion that some of the characters from their stories must have come alive and started drinking tea. I chuckled inside at their gullibility. They seriously thought fictional characters could come alive? Ridiculous.
Unfortunately, the residents decided it was time to torture us yet again, so they made some lunch. It was horrendous! To start out, they burnt their cookies, which made the oven scream with pain. Then, while they were cleaning that up, they let the teapot burn dry. It hurt me so much to see them suffer so.
While they ate their lunch, the humans discussed plans for the afternoon. Thankfully, unlike most afternoons, when they just make cookies and drink tea, this afternoon they decided to do something useful and actually write. (I know, it's a shocker)

Well, that brings me up to the present, and right now I'm just waiting for the humans to come back and make supper. If anything noteworthy happens, I'll be sure to write about it.

Story Day: When authors become characters

Hello, my writing peoples! I have come to this wonderful blog to share with you one of the joys of writing, and I would like to start with….
*character clears throat*
Ahem
*author stares back*
Like I was saying, one of the joys of writing is when we ourselves as authors and writers get to play as characters on what is known as Story Day.

So what is “Story Day” exactly?
Story Day was started in the Young Writers Workshop Community to interact with different characters (who are actually other young writers). It's almost like a real time character building for a story and it goes all weekend long which is usually the first Friday and Saturday of every month. We have introductions of our characters that we’re going to be playing as for that weekend, and then it goes off from there.

*character pipes in*
We also get to meet people from other places! *claps in excitement*

*author starts getting annoyed*
I was just about to tell them that, now stop interrupting will ya?

*character disappears*

Now, as you just saw, there’s that as well. Sometimes, when the authors go to say something, the character who we’re being at the time tries to take control over the keyboard and you have the Dr. Jekyl/Mr. Hyde effect. We can be two separate people at the same time, and why can’t we? We’re writers, right? Aren’t we supposed to be a tad bit crazy anyway?

So how does this work? Well, a character introduction would look something like this:
*Walks up with books in hand and backpack on shoulder*
Zup? I’m Jamie. I was told by both Skylar and Murray that this would be a fun place to hang out and meet other people. I don’t really talk about my past very much, not even Skylar knows all of it and we were castmates in our college’s fall musical. (That’s where we met by the way). So, what’s happening?

100th Post Celebration!!!

Hey guys, it's Arella here! Not too long ago, we posted our 100th post on this blog!

*cue confetti canons*

In honor of this achievement, we decided to do something fun. We asked our writing friends for some questions, and we did our best to answer all of them. It was so much fun answering all of them, and we hope y'all enjoy reading through them, too.

Jesus Christ and the solar eclipse

There it was, Golgotha's hill. The very place where three crosses stood. And as we know from the beautiful Easter story, the moment Jesus died, was the same moment that the sky blackened and the temple veil ripped in two. That, I believe was one of the first events that was ever historically recorded as a sky darkening solar eclipse in the middle of the day.The first recorded eclipse being May 13th, 1357 BC. A crowd was on the hill watching Jesus die, just as today when we gathered together in groups and crowds, and watched in wonder as the 2017 solar eclipse happened on Monday.


But how do we know of this great event during the death of Christ? It was recorded by three different men who were at the same place. Don’t believe me? Come with me and let me show you from the greatest book ever written, Matthew, Mark, and Luke’s account from the gospels.


Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour…..(Matt 27:45)


And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour….(Mark 15:33)


And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour…(Luke 23:44)

So as many of us stood and watched in awe at the beauty and wonder of the solar eclipse on Monday so will many of us stand in terror when Christ returns to righteously judge the earth when he comes again. The second coming. In the past twenty-four hours I came across this video on youtube and brings up a good point.

The Truth About Mentors in Books and Real-Life

As writers, I think we can all agree that mentors are pretty important, whether we’re referring to the character role or real people impacting our careers as aspiring authors. Mentors serve to guide our heroes and ourselves, and whether the problem is helping us rise up to face a villain or finish a manuscript makes their role no less important.
So today, let’s talk about mentors, and the misconceptions we young writers often have about them.

A moment in time: A short story

Note: This is a "flashback" moment in Skylar's past that I wanted to share and see how it would work as a possible part of my story. Enjoy.

God Can Use Our Vulnerable Writing~ Guest post by Sara Willoughby



I didn’t want to post it. The moment I clicked send, I began to second guess myself. I tried to assure myself that it was in God’s hands, and I put it to the back of my mind for a few days. Except that two days later, none of the three people I’d sent the article to had responded. Which wasn’t entirely unusual, but...

The doubts started all over again.

Finally, as I was lying in bed one night, I decided that if no one had responded by morning, I would just switch it out with another one I already had written, and it would be fine. I could stop worrying about it, and no one would see it. Perfect.

However, the next morning, when I checked my email, two of the people had responded overnight! One of them had even written an unusually long email, expounding on the topic. She told me that she had been nearly in tears from reading my article. Encouraged, I decided to let it be, and before I had time to change my mind again, my fellow writer had published it. By the time I began to question my writing again, I didn’t have the courage to ask them to swap it out. Plus, I really felt like God wanted it this specific article there (however much I did not).

I’d better explain. The reason I didn’t want it read in the first place was simply because of my own pride and humiliation at what it said. In the article, I admitted a weakness of mine that felt really personal, and I was afraid people would take it the wrong way.

Well, now it was published, and I couldn’t really do much about it very easily. It got a normal amount of likes, and I started to breathe a sigh of relief. At least it wasn’t standing out as either better or worse than my usual posts. But then, a stranger reblogged it, and a day or two later another friend of mine asked if she could reblog the article. I’d never had any piece of my writing reblogged before! God had gotten His point across. He was going to use this piece of writing, despite my doubts and humiliation. It wasn’t about me.

Have you been in a similar place? Something I’ve noticed is that whenever I have an article or a blog post that I think has just flopped, that didn’t turn out how I wanted it to- those seem to be the pieces that God uses the most. Other bloggers I’ve talked to have noticed the same thing. It shows that it definitely isn’t in our own strength, or by own own eloquence or genius that those pieces were done, but by His power, and for His glory. (1 Cor 1:17 & 2:1).

Writing is incredibly vulnerable, whether we choose to purposely write that way or not. Even in fiction, I’ve noticed this as well! Both my sister and some of my best friends are fiction writers, and when I read their writing, I come across many parts when I see them in their characters. And not just their personality or something. No, I see very vulnerable parts of them that they would never have told the world otherwise.

When we write, we allow the reader to view and analyze how we see the world. They get to see things through our eyes, and we can’t hide much, no matter how hard we try. But guess what? That’s okay. God can use that. God can use our vulnerability. Vulnerability is a key to writing: in fiction, it makes things so much more real, and in nonfiction, it gains both so much more trust from your readers, and truth in your writing when you write things that you’ve personally experienced, felt, or gone through.

I know sometimes it’s hard, and that we really don’t want to, but will you learn from my situation, and allow God to use your writing for His glory? Even the parts that you really don’t want to share?

I’m not saying that there aren’t pieces of our writing that we shouldn’t keep to ourselves. I have a whole folder (or two) of writing that no one at all has read, nor do I intend to let anyone else read. And that’s okay too! I just wanted to share with you the lesson God has been teaching me recently: that He can use my vulnerable writing.

It's Okay To Stop Writing

Hey, everyone, King and Tyrant returning at last with a bit of a conversation sparking question.
Do you ever just get tired of writing?
Like, bottom of the word bin, if I were standing at the edge of a fictional cliff I'd probably fall over tired?
It's okay. It's okay to get tired.
It's okay to want to quit and stop writing or blogging forever and potentially live as a Netflix watching Pizza eating caterpillar for the rest of your life.
What's maybe not okay?
Actually doing that.

The Impact of Books

Today, I’d like to talk about books, something we are all very familiar with on this blog. As soon as we hear that beautiful word, the image of little black letters lined up perfectly on a white page springs to our mind, and we have a sudden desire to go find the nearest book and read it.

This post isn’t about any random book, though. No, this post is about books that inspire.

Get Over Your Limitations

Last week, I was at a youth conference, one that I go to every year. One of the speakers, however, came up with a point in his message that made me think about it, not just regarding my walk with God, but in the case of my writing as well. His point? "Get Over Your Limitations."

It is ok to say "No"

Throughout the timeframe of twenty-four hours, there are several different things we say. Yes, I can’t, will you help me? Mom, dad, and the list goes on. But what about writing? Usually, when I sit at my computer with every intention of putting my thoughts on paper, my brain clicks off and I end up just binge watching a tv show or get into a good conversation with other writers. I have, therefore, turned my deadlines into maybe's, my urgencies into extensions, and my yes’s into no’s.

I wasn’t facing writer's block, I had several ideas, thoughts, and plot twists that I wanted to explore and put in the paths of my readers and in my own story that I’m currently working on, so what happened? Why couldn’t I just sit down and make my mind work so that I could write? I like to kinda explain it this way……..my brain went to outer space to take a nap. There was complete oblivion, darkness, silence, and a dark emptiness that I couldn’t control. It was like my brain hit a kill switch and the breaker box blew all at once. To put it simply, I said no.

It was just easier to say no and call it a day.

Why It's Important to Share Your Writing

One of the hardest things for a writer (other than writing), is working up the courage to start sharing our work with friends, family, and strangers. It’s scary, because we wonder if maybe everything we’ve worked so hard on isn’t as good as we thought. It’s something that’ll help you grow, though, and today I’m going to tell you why.

The beauty of spoken poetry

As a writer, I love reading and finding other works in the same genre that I’m working on at the time. The same is for poetry. I have found that it is one thing to write poetry, and another to hear it being read. So if you do it right, the imagery is beautiful and can leave pictures in your mind as the one reciting it takes you on the said journey. I first came across this poetry piece below on Facebook as one of those “caption this” clips. And therefore with my curiosity piqued, I found the full version on YouTube. It's titled Explaining my depression to my mother: A conversation and rightfully so. Below are the words or “lyrics” to the piece, and then the video from YouTube. The request I have is that you first read the poem and then watch the video as Sabrina Benaim brings this piece to life.

Never Give Up


“But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.” 2 Chronicles 15:7(NIV)
Never give up. I am sure that you heard these three words plenty of times, but sometimes you feel like the words, “Never Give Up” are not helping, especially if a family member or friends tell you this.

Are you discouraged?
Are you frustrated?
Are you doing something to please someone else?
Are you having a hard time figuring out how to balance your time to accomplish something that God has placed on your heart to focus on?

Standing Out (Open Pen Critique)

This is an open pen critique. If you have any thoughts or comments, be sure to write them below!

I started up from my bed. My room was pitch dark. Everything was calm and quiet, but my heart was racing. The cold, clammy fingers of fear began to wrap around my mind. "Why did I tell Altam? What if he tells everyone else?" Giant cold drops of sweat began to trickle down my face. I passed the night in silent misery.

At the crack of dawn, I was up and dressing. I was anxious to get to the university to see if Altam had told on me. After racing through the early morning rush traffic, I walked into the university. I was somewhat relieved when the receptionist gave me a cheery "Good morning." But it didn't help my suspense much. I just had to know. I just had to find Altam.

Don't Stress Over Not Writing

As some of you may have noticed, I have not been writing/updating on here.
 I unintentionally dropped posting a few weeks ago (on both my blog, and here), partly due to VBS, which took up a lot of energy, it left me not wanting to do much else. And one last thing. The. Heat. Peoples. It sure gets hot here before monsoon (this summer is worse).
Back to the point.
The first week or so I stressed out about how I should be writing and posting it (I post twice a week, so that seemed like a lot to miss).
But I don’t always need to post without fail.
It’s always good to recharge, take a break from, well anything, really.
While I still feel  bad for not posting consistently, I just didn’t have any motivation to write for anyone else.
Take note.
-Sometimes you need a break
-Not everything you write has to be posted for public viewing.
-Not everyone will care (not that people are heartless, mind you)

What should you do while you’re taking a break and feeling very unproductive?
-Maybe that thing that needs to be done, you’ve been avoiding? Yeah, that one.
-Read. Everything!
-Go out, do something, have an adventure. Drag someone along with you.
-Do something creative that has nothing to do with writing (food, paper crafting, etc.,)
While I’m sure this doesn’t even scratch the surface for reasons you should take a break when you need to, or what to do in the meantime, these are just a few ideas to keep your creative “juices” active, and ready for your next writing endeavor! Till next time!

-Kirstie Rhys

Yes, God Can Still Use Another Writer

As Christian writers, we are sometimes filled with a desire to write for the Lord, to use our words to share His love, whether that is in a direct or indirect way. The only problem is that the next thought that fills our brains is often doubt, because there are simply so many other writers doing the very thing that we wish to do. While this is encouraging and uplifting to see others who have accomplished our own dreams, it is also a bit intimidating. We wonder, if there are so many others, does God really need me?

The Excitement of Filmmaking


It was fall of 2014. I was four weeks away from my college’s production of the play The Robber Bridegroom when I found myself in our auditorium filming one of the scenes for the movie Amelia 2.0, which is set to be released on Friday, August 4th, 2017. But my love for movie making didn’t start there at the filming, no. That was just a once in a lifetime experience. It started when I was a freshman in high school, reading biographies to play scripts, to thick “The making of….” with behind the scenes stills and cast member’s remarks, to the actual film schedule of one of my favorite Civil War movies, God’s and Generals.

But what does all of that have to do with writing?
Everything.

You see, to make a good movie like God’s and Generals, The Chronicles of Narnia, and Amelia 2.0, you first have to do the casting before the filming process even starts. But before the casting, you have to have a script, and before you have a script, you have to have a story. And if you can guess by now, to have a good story, it first has to be written. Once that is done, and the story is chosen to be made into a big screen deal, everything else falls into place. Then once the filming starts you have the set and scene schedules that have to be written, you have to number or categorize the costumes, and such.

So why do I love the excitement of filmmaking and watch the process of good movies come to the big screen? It's because I believe in the project, and from being part of a small scene myself a few years ago, I appreciate the “man hours” it takes to make a project of that caliber. It's the fact that the end project, the polished piece, that several thousands of people see on the screen and the responses, emotions, and how they react to the project, makes everything worthwhile. Even in a play, I had a glimpse of what the actors, actresses, directors, and the rest of the crew on any acting project go through to put an enjoyable piece of good entertainment together for everyone to enjoy.

Now you may be wondering what exactly is Amelia 2.0? It's a sci/fi movie on robotic technology.

After his wife Amelia suffers an aneurysm that leaves her bedridden and slowly dying, police officer Carter Summerland searches for a way to revive her. He's approached by Wesley Enterprises about allowing Amelia to be the test subject for an experimental program that will place her mind in an artificial body.




The Conquering Inconsistency Challenge - What I Learned

Last week, I felt that I wasn't writing consistently enough. As a result, I posted a challenge: Write 200 Words Every Day

What I didn't realize when I started that post was that this week was going to be absolutely packed, what with the 4th of July and all. In fact, I was camping in a tent without a computer for 5 of those days.

The 4th of July

That date comes around only once a year. So does every date really, if you think about it. There's only one New Years Day, one April Fools, one Memorial Day, one Thanksgiving, and so on for that entire year. Usually, without a doubt, I have this crazy thought of what would happen if our for fathers never signed the Constitution of the United States or the Declaration of Independence. I've always wondered what would happen if they had the chance to see what America has become and made their decision based on that alone. I had written this poem a few years ago, but I still think it rings true today because I still wonder what would happen. Hope you enjoy.
OUR FATHER'S VOICE
Seasons come, seasons go,
America's grown, that we know.
But she's forgotten
Forgotten our past
The past we need to remember.

Our past there is `92,
When Chris sailed the ocean blue.
The Pilgrims who landed on Plymouth Rock,
For them, it was a shock.
Since they survived the winter `20,
We now have a feast of plenty.
As they signed the Mayflower Compact,
They only knew it wasn't a contract.

Now we jump a hundred and fifty years,
England's oppression only nears.
As we find in the `70's,
Old towns are now new cities.
King George kept his power and might,
And he wouldn't leave without a fight.

But what would happen?
What if one of our father's jumped?
Jumped that thing called death,
Traveled in that place as time.
Saw America today,
What would they do?
What would they say?
They would likely say:

For you, we lived
For you, we died
For you, we breathed
For you, we cried
For you, we up and grew
For you, we fired and flew

For you, we were hunted
For you, the spy Hale was hung
For you, he bled "I regret"
For you, Franklin said, "Together or Die"
For you, we joined to tie.
For you, Paul rode,
Rode to tell town, village, and farm,
To tell men up and arm.

For you, we said no more,
No tax, no king, we're on our own.
For you, Lexington saw a war,
The day that the Green turned red.
Red with blood,
For you, Jeff wrote,
Wrote for you till he could no more.

But why do you choose to ignore?
Ignore our cry, our pleas, our wants,
Ignore the two great documents.
We didn't write them as a Decoration,
But a Declaration.
We didn't write them as a Contradiction,
 But a Constitution.
So as I go, will you remember?
Will you choose to tell your friends,
Your family, your neighbor?
Tell them about what we did so long ago.

How we fired and fled,
How the grass turned red.
How we did it in the face of death,
When we knew it would mean our last breath.
So let me tell you to tell near and far,
Tell one and all.
I wasn't for us what we did that day,
It was for you,
For you we signed.

I Challenge You To Conquer Inconsistency

Take a poll of hobby writers, and almost all of them will say that they don't write as often as they want to. I'm in that same boat. I will catch the "writer's bug" for a few days, but afterwards, I don't write for weeks on end. However, I have realized that my sporadic writing is doing very little to actually help me improve my writing ability.

So I'm going to change that.

I'm issuing a challenge to everyone here at Elysian, and everyone out there who's reading this:

Write 200 words every day this week.


It shouldn't be hard at all.

Two hundred words is just a couple paragraphs.

This challenge could jumpstart you into writing growth.

So will you join me in writing every day?

If so, say so in the comments, or on our social media pages.

~James

Tips on Worldbuilding

Worldbuilding-something that many writers either love, or dread. Why? Because there are so many amazing, unique experiences that you go through whilst making your very own universe. It’s one of my favorite things in writing, and so that’s what I’ll be talking about today.

On Deck



"So Abijah rested with his fathers, and they buried him in the City of David. Then Asa his son reigned in his place..." -2 Chronicles 14:1
You are probably asking yourself, "Who is Abijah?" At this junction, King Solomon has died...if you've read this part of the Bible before, you will recall that due to insolence on the part of Solomon's son, the kingdom of Israel was divided in two- Jeroboam became king of Israel and Rehoboam (Solomon's son) became king of Judah.
The reason for the split of the kingdom was because Rehoboam acted in an incredibly unwise manner: when the people came to make him king after his father's death, Rehoboam ignored the wise council of the older men and instead followed that of those he had grown up with...in a move to gain their obedience and fear, he essentially told the people that he would rule with an iron fist. That didn't go over with the people very well, and as you can understand, the nation divided...all but two of the tribes made Jeroboam their king.
Rehoboam rules and dies. His son, Ahijah, also rules. How did his reign go? "And he walked in all the sins of his father, which he had done before him; his heart was not loyal to the Lord his God, as was the heart of his father David." (1 Kings 15:3)
And then Ahijah dies. His son, Asa, is next in line. He has a choice to make. What will he do? How will he rule? Will he walk in the ways of his ancestor David, a man after God's own heart? Or will he follow the examples of his father and grandfather? He chose rightly.
Verses 11-12 of 1 Kings 15 say, "Asa did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, as did his father David. And he banished the perverted persons from the land, and removed all the idols that his fathers had made." Well done, Asa! It would've been easy to follow the wrong path...he had plenty of examples to follow! But he did what was pleasing to God.
In baseball, there's a term that describes the person who's next in line to bat: On Deck. While Asa's father was "batting," Asa was on deck, waiting for his turn. And when it was his turn, Asa was ready- he hit a homerun.
My family just found out last week that an older person we had known had died after hitting her head. This lady had a special meaning to my parents...she and her husband were the ones who mentored my mom and dad in their marriage and their walks with Christ right after they got married. Yet it was like a torch- they mentored my parents, but as soon as God provided opportunity, my parents took that torch and now mentor other married couples when the occasion arises. As we young adults get older and older, we are getting so much closer to taking a hold of that "torch" that has been passed down to us. Christian mentorship, leadership, and wisdom are all investments...at some point, it'll be our turn to pour all that we've learned back out into those coming after us. It's a heritage.
In a sense, we're all like Asa. He was waiting for when God called him to take up his torch, and we're doing the same. At some point, instead of being directly under our parents, we'll have children of our own who we'll need to instruct in the wisdom of the Lord! If you're not already old enough to vote, there will soon be a time when you will be called upon to make wise decisions in selecting godly leaders. That torch is getting close!
Asa did what was right...1 Kings 15:14b says, "Nevertheless [even though the high places remained] Asa's heart was loyal to the Lord all his days." Study God's Word so you can be ready when you're handed the bat. It's close...right now, you're on deck.
In Christ,
Christopher

Christopher O’Rear, 19, is a Jesus following, piano playing, entrepreneur-ing, writing, soccer player for Boyce College. He is proud to call Louisville his home despite the miserable winters he endures there! He leads a team of writers for FoundWhoIAm, a blog by Christian teens to encourage other believers in their walk with Christ.