Rainbow

Rainbow

 

Red, the flush on our faces, the roses in the bouquet-

The color of our dress while in his arms we

 sway.

Orange, the color of the sunrise, the fire in our chest-

The color of the pennies for a ring and a family

 blessed.

Yellow, the center of daffodils, like the center of our hearts-

The color of our wanderings that tears our love

apart.

Green, the color of growth when love is found again-

Where seasons start and flowers grow and love is not

pretend.

Blue, the colors of the tears we cry while all is ripped away-

The color of the oceans apart and the light of a brand new

 day.

Indigo, the color of the dye that stains the purest cloth-

The color of tomorrows new horizons and the moonlit

 troth.

Violet, the color of the flowers like it all began-

The color of her smiling eyes and the altar which you

stand.

 

The rainbow was created by sorrow and pain-

The crystals that create the rainbow

Must first create the rain.

This is one of 6 poems I had published. Out of all of them, this is the most recent. 

 

 We leave on the morrow for a trip, so that is why I’m releasing this early. 🙂 

 Interstellar Association

 Interstellar Association

Annual Interstellar Association,

number 2,017:

The Discussion of Eradication

From the Decree of Parsecs:

By order of his majesty the Sun,

Each year, every celestial body

Be them stars, planets, comets or constellations,

Shall meet to discuss the ruling of each secpar

and vote in and out the election of new moons, the paths of comets

and the obliteration of secondary planets.

This meeting shall henceforth and forevermore

be known as the

Interstellar Association.

This year, the 2,017th meeting of the celestial bodies was held in the realm of the Kuiper, guarded by the thousands of meteors that circled the realm. Each planet and constellation filed into the conference hall, their faces grim and ready. The comets had been here already for a while, their bodies cold, their tales wrapped around their slender bodies. They stayed as far away as possible from the center of the room, where the sun stood gazing at the stellas.

“Oh, shut up,” Venus proclaimed loudly, batting her eyelashes at the constellations and secondary planets who gazed at her with awe. She was the hottest planets of them all, and therefore always had some stellas glancing at her. She was used to it by now, however, and didn’t care about them anymore.

Mercury, her brother, sat next to her, his hands folded promptly in his lap. He was also good looking, but since there were hardly any other girls in the universe, he kept his looks to himself. But that didn’t mean the two of them weren’t admired by the constellations. Both he and his sister had the golden rocks.

Jupiter sat by himself, nursing another one of his asteroid wounds, looking as beat up as ever. He watched the others in the hall with a cynical eye, hatred and blood-lust etching his very being.

It was funny to the Sun. He had placed Jupiter in front of Earth for a purpose, thousands of years ago. Jupiter was always getting in a fight with Mars, and the best way to sate his desire for blood was to be a constant guardian of the people on earth.

Mars was, as well, nursing his wounds, grumbling about more of those human rovers on his rustic, dry plains. “I make ’em hot for a reason,” he could be heard muttering. “And then cold at night. But do they listen…? Oh… no way!”

Many a time, he had appealed for retirement, preferring to guard against asteroids than having to deal with those pesky things called humans. And every single time, he had been turned away.

“Alright, is everyone here?” the Sun spoke up, looking to Mercury for his nod. He was the one who delivered all the invitations and therefore would know when everyone had arrived.

After Mercury gave his nod of consent, the Sun began to speak.

“I have an idea,” Mars spoke up. “What if-“

Not again… those words could be heard like a collective breath throughout the entire Kuiper belt. Even the Asteroid Security System (which helped keep peace in the entire universe) could be heard trying not to laugh.

“We told you,” the Sun shook his head. “Venus has declined you moving next to her. She shall stay next to her brother, and if you try to move again-“

“Right,” Mars shook his head. “Great. Rejected. Again.”

Haley was the next one to speak. “I would like to suggest a new path for my rotation? It gets so entirely lonely on that eternal journey, around and around. What if we were to make it… shorter?”

“Yeah, like you can talk!” Hale-Bopp groaned from where he was rubbing ice on his tired body. “I’ve been on the same journey for over a thousand years.”

“I’m just saying-” she was cut off by Encke.

“That is true, Sun,” he bowed his head in respect. “You’ve been much kinder, giving me a journey of only about three earth-years.”

“If you’re going to give shorter work years to anyone, give ’em to me,” an older comet spoke up, his voice hoarse from lack of use. “113,782 years I travel. And I haven’t even made a whole orbit yet. This entire thing is Bootes!”

“Hey! Watch your language!” Bootes, the herdsman constellation yowled. “My name is not to be used for your own poppycock, Hyakutake!”

“Hyakutake, Hale-Bopp, Haley,” the Sun shook his head. “I apologize, but I cannot change your orbit. You are, after all, our message delivery system.”

“Really? Fine then, I quit!” Hale-Bopp yowled.

“You might want to rethink that, Hale-Bopp,” Haley said quietly, gesturing to outside of the Kuiper belt. “You know what happens to stellas when they reject their work. They spend a thousand years in Behemoth.”

The entire hall fell silent.

Fear lit every one of their cores as they remembered the star who had defied the Sun, trying to overthrow his power and claim the universe as his own. Thus, in appeal to the Maker, the star was cursed and turned into a huge Black Hole, which now served as a prison.

“Actually, ” Hale-Bopp said weakly. “I’m… fine.”

“Any more appeals?” the Sun asked.

“Yes,” Mars spoke up. “If I can’t have Venus can I at least have some of Jupiter’s ladies?”

“HEY! NO, you know I won this fair and square!” Jupiter shouted. “Every single one of these is mine. You go ahead and win your own!”

Mars was about to open his mouth to speak when a chill fell over the entire hall.

“What’s this? A party?” A voice said, its voice like silver. “Wow, I feel so loved. A party in my own backyard and you didn’t even invite me.”

Venus cringed. “Great,” she muttered.

“Pluto!” Saturn shouted. “I thought you were banned from these conferences!”

“Yes, you tried to ice Venus!” Uranus said angrily.

“Wasn’t taking away my title enough?” he cooed, coming towards the sun. “I used to be greatly feared as a planet- now you have turned me into a dwarf. How… displeasing!”

“You deserved it,” Venus said angrily.

“Whoo… so cold,” he shook his head. “And I thought I was chilly. Well, well, Venus. Did that ice stay in your core after all?”

“No, thankfully,” she bit out. “But I had to endure one of the Sun’s flares.”

A moan went throughout the hall. Everyone had come to despise the Sun’s flares, almost as much as they had come to despise Neptune’s gas-attacks.

Venus flushed in embarrassment and cast her eyes below.

“Sun,” Mercury spoke up. “Summon the Asteroid Security System to remove this dwarf at once.”

“You must leave, Pluto, I apologize,” the Sun said quietly. “Or else I will have no choice but to send you into Behemoth.”

“Did it ever occur to you,” Pluto spat out as the Asteroid Security System began to escort him out. “That I am so cold because I am so far away from you?”

“That was not my choice,” the Sun said quietly. “It is not the circumstances that bring you pain. But rather what you do with them.”

“Yeah, and you would know all about that,” he said. “With you and your brother… Betel! He’s a thousand times bigger than you, how is it that you were chosen?”

“The Maker decided it,” the Sun responded nonchalantly. “All is as He has willed it.”

Everyone nodded in agreement.

“Which reminds me…” Uranus spoke up for the first time. “Where is Earth?”

The Sun closed his eyes and a sharp chuckle went up from Mars.

“She… she wasn’t invited?” Uranus asked in shock. “But… isn’t that the law of the Decree? Everyone must be invited, so long as they aren’t banished?”

“Yes…” the Sun hesitated.

“But she couldn’t come,” Mars laughed out loud. “We all know that she has too much to think about. She leaves for five minutes and everything goes to pot!”

“Hey, that’s gossip!” Haley rebuked him.

“It’s true, actually,” Saturn shook his head. “Let’s just think about what happened… Hitler became leader of the Nazis, Cancer decided to be an idiot and form the disease…” everyone tossed a look at Cancer.

She shrugged. “Sorry, it was an accident. Technically, it was meant for Hitler so…”

No one believed her.

“But she always has Lunar to babysit,” Haley objected.

“Yeah, please,” Hale-Bopp let out a mirthless laugh. “We know she’s not dependable. She’s horrible at babysitting. Just… you know… not all there.”

“Why are you defending her, anyways?” Jupiter asked her.

Haley shrugged. “I don’t know…”

“Earth has not been invited for a reason, actually,” Mercury spoke up. “It’s because we no longer trust her. Not her, in and of herself, but the people she has on her. Some of them we can trust, but that world is so messed up as of now, that it no longer deserves our time or our thought.”

“That’s true,” Venus nodded sadly. “The Ebola virus…”

“The wars in Africa,” Hale-Bopp suggested solemnly.

“ISIS rising,” Mars put in.

“The protests for equality, the Civil Wars, the objection of their leaders,” Uranus said quietly. “We’ve watched her suffer through war, death, disease, but this… all of this… it’s just so much. Is it even worth it… anymore?”

The Sun was silent. After a few moments, he spoke up. “What do you suggest we do?”

“The kindest thing to do,” Hyakutake said, his voice sad. “We send the Asteroid Security System at her, wipe her off the face of the universe. Get rid of her before the people completely pollute her and destroy her- send off their own kind to live among us.”

“We can’t do that!” Haley stood up. “Not… without the consent of the Maker.”

“That is true,” the Sun beckoned to Aquila, the eagle constellation. “Bring me the Book, please.”

All of them fell silent as the Holy Book was brought in, it’s face shining brighter than the Sun itself.

He flipped through it, muttering to himself. “The Heavens declare the glory of the Lord,” he said… flipping through the Book. “Nope. Sorry. We cannot destroy the Earth. It’s against everything that has been written.”

“But- why?” Jupiter groaned.

“Because I am beautiful,” a voice said from the entrance of the room. Everyone turned to look at her small figure as she walked inside. “I may be a mess filled to the brim with angry, greedy people who only ever think about themselves,” she shook her head. “But I am beautiful too. And as much as I hate to admit it, the Maker created me to be more important than even you, Sun. He created me to harbor man, after His own image, to hold good and evil. And I am the only among you that have had Him walk on me.”

“And die on you, too,” Hyakutake muttered.

“And that,” she shrugged it off. “But only because He loved the people I harbor enough to die for them. You cannot destroy me because where there is evil, there is good. Where there is war, there is peace. Where there is sadness, there is also joy.”

“She’s right,” Haley nodded. “You may want to destroy her because… everything would be so much easier. But how can you destroy what the Maker has in mind? Surely, you cannot. You cannot destroy her, for the same reason you cannot change my path. Because she has a purpose, as do we all.

“She is broken, yes, but she is beautiful. Exactly as the Maker designed her to be. And that’s worth fighting for,” Haley finished.

Hyakutake nodded. “They’re right. The Maker knows our plans. That’s good enough.”

Everyone, even Mars, nodded in agreement.

“Oh, Earth?” Sun asked later on in the conference. “Who did you leave to babysit?”

“Oh, I asked Lunar,” she nodded, smiling a bit.

Everyone let out a despairing groan.

“Oh, don’t worry!” she shook her head, laughing. “She’s a full sister tonight! Everything will be fine…!”

Next Day…

“Uhh… Lunar?” she gave her a little nudge. “Why are you sleeping?”

“I don’t know…” Lunar snorted, waking up. “Oh… oh, Earth, can you forgive me? I forgot that I can’t shine when the Sun isn’t with me.”

“What happened to the people, do you know?” Earth asked.

“Well…” Lunar hesitated. “There kind of was another war…”

“LUNAR!” Earth yelled in exasperation. “You were supposed to stop this!”

“I know, I know… it’s just…”

“How many people died?” Earth questioned.

“Well now… I don’t know…”

“Lunar…”

“Maybe twenty-five?”

“Lunar…”

“Thirty-six…?”

“Lunar…”

Back at the Kuiper Belt

“You know, Neptune,” the Sun sighed, scratching his head. “I’m glad that’s over for another year.”

“Yes,” Neptune nodded. “But the Earth did deserve to come. It was very wrong of you to not invite her.”

“I know, it was. But what else was I supposed to do?”

“Praise the Maker for who Earth is because… He knows where we would be without her.”

“True, true,” Sun nodded. “Hey, maybe Saturn can propose to her!”

“Not in a thousand years, big man! These rings are all mine…” Saturn tossed at him loftily, heading back towards his Orbit.

“Hey, Sun?” Haley asked, heading towards the Sun. “Can I ask you a question?”

“Sure, Haley,” he smiled at her.

“Does it hurt to shine so bright?” she asked.

“Well…” he hesitated. “Sometimes. Mostly because no one ever looks at me. But let me tell you, Haley, I look forward to the day when I can retire. All of you guys will live off of the Makers light, not my own. Won’t that be beautiful?”

“Beautiful… absolutely,” she nodded. “But, until then… shine bright, majesty.” Giving him one last smile she whipped her tale into action, heading towards her orbit. Even as she was speeding on her way, her laughs of joy could be heard all around the Universe.

At the Earth’s orbit, Earth smiled as she heard her laugh. “Thanks for telling me about the Association, Haley,” she whispered. “I don’t think I’d be here without you.”

The End

Life Update #1

Life Update #1

Okay, so, big news for all of my followers. No, it’s not good news as I wish it was. My arms have been bothering me for the past… well, almost six months now. It hurts to type, play my harp, and do just about anything.

SO! I am heading to physical therapy tomorrow, and will be taking off of writing and harp for a while until it gets better. All that to say, I am moving my once-a-week posting to every other week just for now. That way, I can still post something, but I won’t irritate my arms.

Once my arms have recovered, I might go back to the once a week thing. Anyhow, I will keep you updated.

AND! I have something coming out on the Rebelution next Tuesday, and I also have a few things coming out on Kingdom Pen soon so… make sure you keep an eye out!

Thanks so much, lovelies!

-KayleighAnne

4 Simple Steps to Creating A Realistic Character

4 Simple Steps to Creating A Realistic Character

One of the most key things in forming your novel is character creation. You want a character that draws people in, makes them feel like they are understood and doesn’t seem too ‘Mary-Sue’. It took years, but after a while, I began to understand how to do it. Here’s how.

1. Make them have real blood

I have read corny novels where the main character is absolutely perfect. She never gets angry, never hates anyone and never, ever (wait for it) got hurt in a battle. She could go through an entire battle and not. Get. Hurt. What even is this? A Virtual Reality? No, you’re supposed to be writing in real life. So what are you doing making them invisible? Make them get hurt, make them break, tear them down so that, in the end, they are completely and utterly human.

2. They’re not Vogue-cover perfect

I hate it when they’re perfect. Perfect body, perfect hair, perfect everything. I’ve read novels like that and, in the end, instead of relating to them, I envied them. I couldn’t ever look perfect like they do, and it made me despise the book. So, instead of making them Vogue-cover worthy, make them have a scar on their face, scar marks on their arms from past cuttings, a birthmark they cover up because they are ashamed of it. In my recent dystopian novel, I made my character relatable because I didn’t make her perfect. We live in a real world. Remember that. Perfect isn’t an option.

3. They struggle with an adamant issue

Each and every one of us struggles with some issue. Whether it be pride, anger, hate, or something even worse. Why? Because we’re human. And your characters are too. So make them act like it. I always make my characters have fears, issues, and hopes. Does your MC struggle with trust? Is she irritable? Irrational? Negative? Pick on and add it in. You’ll find that characters are easier to relate to -and to write- when you make them have problems.

4. Give them human emotions

Is your main character struggling with the death of her dad? Don’t make her strong. Make her break down into tears. Make her angry. Is your character searching for a treasure? Make her feel defeat, anger, and isolation. Is your character in a hospital, fighting against cancer? Make her scared, angry, and hurt. If you ever struggle with figuring out what to make them feel, close your eyes and breathe in. Then, open up a different page on your computer, put yourself in their shoes, and type what you would feel. The words that will pour onto the page will be completely, and utterly, human.

Story Prompt #1 

Story Prompt #1 

Today, this week, we are doing something different. I will not be releasing an article or a short story. Now, before you go all ‘arghh’ on me, I want to explain why. I am not releasing anything for me- I am releasing this for you. 

 This is your time to write your own short story based on the prompt I have provided. I have given you a chance to see what I can write, now I want to see what you can write! 

And that, my friends and happy followers, is why I am releasing early this week- so that I can have time to read them before I prepare my next post! 

So, here it is: 

“You’re looking for a new house to buy, when in the basement of an old house you find a crumpled up letter between the cracks of the concrete. Opening it up, you are clearly surprised. It’s a letter that, if it had been sent, would’ve altered history- and therefore would have changed the world as we know it.” 

Who wrote the letter? What does it say? Why was it never sent? What would it have changed? What are YOU going to do about it?
Happy writing! 

ArmyMen

ArmyMen

“Are you sure it’s such a good idea?” my closest friend and ally, Clarice, hisses in my ear as we hide behind the hedge. Her voice comes out frightened and nervous, and once again I refrain from rolling my eyes. If she didn’t like battle, she never should have signed up for it. Yet, she told me that she didn’t want me to go alone. What a help she’s been. She’s almost made me get shot five thousand times- and she did kill off one of our allies- just because she’s clumsy.

I peer around the hedge, looking at the stocky two-dimensional figures that dot the horizon. They sprout up from the ground everywhere, twisting their spindly bodies towards the brazen sky, disappearing into the smoke. They should smell like the trees back home- but they don’t. They smell sticky and slimy- like a toad that has been dead for ages.

“Just stay low,” I reply, sitting back on my heels and glancing at her in the dim light. “Everything will be fine.”

I hear another shout, and then a scream as another person falls somewhere in the battle-field that I am fighting in. Shivers run up and down my spine at their blood-curdling screams- and I can only hope it’s another of the Red Army that has fallen- and not my side.

Clarice’s eyes widen and she reaches over to grab my hand, holding onto it tightly as I feel all of the blood leave them. “You’re not planning on leaving me, are you?”

“Relax,” I stand up and tap her gun with my own. “They gave them to us for a reason.”

“I know that,” she says, her voice small. “I’m just not used to shooting anybody…”

“Hey,” I shake my head, ready to get out of her sight. “Just… chill. Please. The Red Army asked for war because they want what we have. They can’t win,” I swallow hard. “They won’t. But you have to be willing to do whatever it takes to succeed.”

After she gives a half-hearted, stilted nod, I grin at her and slowly back away from the hedge, making my way to the nearest two-dimensional soma, and pressing myself against it- holding the gun to my chest. My heart is beating a thousand beats a second, the blood pounding in my ears. I hold my gun to my chest and take a deep breath.

Inhale.

I think of what I must do.

Exhale.

And then I do it.

War ensues.

One fire after another, I shoot down one man and then go onto the next- not forgetting that these men I knew used to be my friends, my family. Now they are only one thing. My enemy. And so when I shoot, I let my anger go out with it. No doubts. No hesitations. Just me, my enemy and death dancing in between the hedges and the barricades, floating on fog as thick as clouds.

It’s a wonder, but I manage to dive and move, resisting the lasers as they come my way. Each time I nearly die and yet survive, I thank my brothers who are probably back home sleeping for making me practice late into the night with their guy friends.

The strange smelling wind sifts through my ponytail, and as the last of the enemy in my line of vision goes down, I smell its strange stench. It’s icky- like sweat and the exhale of every fallen man. It floats listlessly by, and with it, I smell doom.

And yet, standing amidst a collection, the fog at my heels and the wind at my back, I see nothing. Nothing except for the traces of men fallen and gone. I hear nothing except for the foreign cries that my ears do not recognize- until I realize they are mine.

I am screaming.

Why am I screaming?

Why do I feel so dead, so fallen that I am screaming, while I am still standing as tall as the hedges around me?

And then I realize what my subconscious mind decided. I will not go to them and waste my breath. They will have to come to me.

And when they do, they are going to have to find me.

Not up. Never up.

My instructor’s words run through my head as I glance up at the lean plane figure that looms in the darkness towards my left. They said that if you went up, you could get hurt.

But this is war.

Gripping my gun in my teeth, I slowly shimmy my way up the figure, climbing up, stopping to take a breath, and then continuing up again.

Once I reach as far up as I think is necessary, I grip my gun in a trembling, cold, dank hand, and then let out another cry- hoping I sound like a desperate human being.

Apparently I do, for after a minute I hear the noisy blunderings of another Red Army Clique- the people that are impossible to defeat because they always fight together. There are three of them, all stocky men, and I roll my eyes when they come into the clearing.

They never look up.

That’s the funny thing about the Red Army; they never, ever think through the costs. If you want to win, you have to look everywhere. Even up.

Trying not to make a sound, I reach down into my belt and take out one of the chromatics that I had hidden inside. Wincing from the effort of holding on, I threw it- far, far away towards the other side of the Red Army.

Hopefully, they will start running towards it, leaving the mark on their backs vulnerable. I remember what my instructor told me, not too long ago. Hit the mark. That is their weakness. If I hit the mark- they are done for. And so that’s what I plan to do.

I cheer silently to myself when I see the Red Army Clique turn towards the impact of my chromatic’s landing. Their backs are vulnerable.

As they start heading towards the chromatic, I aim my gun and I shoot.

My blue laser slices through the foggy air like light, plunging its silvery body into the mark of the one of the Red Army. A squealing comes from them that doesn’t sound real at all, and then the one that I hit is fallen.

The big tall one stands up and tosses a look at his fallen comrade before turning to face me.

Uh oh.

He’s seen me.

He lets out a hoot before lifting his gun to shoot at me. As a red laser shoots towards me faster than the speed of light, I barely have time to duck behind the body of the ligneous complex before it goes right past me, barely missing my own mark.

I shudder as I remember what my instructor told me.

I have a mark too. But mine isn’t red like theirs. It’s blue. Like the side that I am fighting for.

Taking a deep breath, I jump down the complex and land on the ground, my hand scraping against the rough covering. It should feel like the bark at home, on my own tree, but it doesn’t. It feels sharper. Like… even the trees are out to get me.

I merge into the fog and creep away, knowing that the two Red Armymen are close in pursuit. Shooting lasers behind me, lasers whizzing past my ears, my boots, my mark, I allow myself to believe that this really is the end.

Could it be that this time, the Red Army deserves to win?

No. I can’t let myself to think that way.

And so, with a shrug of my shoulders, I do the unthinkable. I turn around and face my pursuers head on.

What I do catches them by surprise.

They stumble, and I use their momentary hesitation to my advantage.

I shoot. I shoot, I dive, I shoot again. By the time I’m finished, both of them have fallen.

And I feel unstoppable.

Until it happens.

I hear her scream.

“Somebody help me!”

I’m finished resting and up on my feet as soon as Clarice shouts. And then I move, as fast as the wind and as deadly as the storm, until I see them. Five Red Armymen surrounding Clarice, smiling at her and aiming their guns to shoot.

I can only get out her name before it’s over.

She catches sight of me through the shoulders of the Red Army, and then she too is fallen. What happens barely registers in my mind before the Red Army turns around, and sees me, helpless. I could shoot them down, but maybe it’s not worth it. Maybe I should just surrender, and let them get rid of me peacefully.

Besides, I realize it now. I’m the only one left. The Red Army is going to win- and there’s nothing I can do about it.

Mouth dry, I drop my gun on the ground and lower myself to my knees. They surround me and point their guns at my mark. Shutting my eyes, I prepare for the impact. I prepare to become fallen. It’s only a matter of time before I do.

They all cock their guns in unison.

My breath catches.

And then-

An alarm blares.

I feel no impact. I feel nothing. And when my eyes open, I see him, extending his hand and helping me up.

Am I fallen? No. I don’t think so. Not yet.

The Red Army is heading away from me, and I realize that I am safe. I am the last man standing. The warrior, the servant. What a tiring job that is. They are all walking away, laughing and hooting, their voices loud and exuberant.

They’re probably going to celebrate with some greasy pizza and fizzy pop. They’ll laugh late into the night, celebrating their victory.

But hey, it’s only laser tag.

I might as well go and join them.

5 Things to Avoid in the First Chapter

5 Things to Avoid in the First Chapter

One of the most important things for an author to understand is how to form the first chapter. Or, more importantly, how not to. The first chapter is what the agents and publishers will read. It is also, most likely, the page that curious people will go to at a bookstore. So, if you have a bad beginning, everyone just assumes that you aren’t qualified to write and therefore do not deserve the attention. I have read books that have very bad beginnings, and so I didn’t continue to read them. What are the things to avoid in the first chapter? Here is a list of five things to remember.

1. Avoid long opening paragraphs

This is one of the things that bug me. A lot. If I open a book I want to instantly be drawn into the story. Sure, a small opening paragraph is fine. But don’t go along to write what I call a ‘Run-On Paragraph’ which is a paragraph that takes something you have already described and breaks it down bit by bit until I have a big picture- but maybe too big. I want to be drawn into the book first off. And if I am instantly put into a position when I have to read this poetic, run-on sentence, I’m going to assume that the rest of the book is that way and put it down.

2. Avoid using passive voice

Looking back at my books that I wrote years ago, I noticed I used passive voice. I told about things instead of showing them. That basically opened the door- but kept the screen tightly locked. I could smell the world, feel the warmth, see the light, but I couldn’t get in. We don’t want that. In the first chapter, and fundamentally the rest of the book, try showing things instead of telling them. For example, don’t say ‘the fall leaves’ instead, try doing something like this ‘the drying leaves crunched underfoot’. If you do it that way, people are sucked into the world, and they can almost see it, feel it, and smell it. It’s alright to use passive voice sometimes, but if you use it all the time agents and publishers will see you as immature, and won’t give your book another thought.

3. Avoid pointless facts

Do not go on to describe the color of her hair, where she went to school, who she dated, etc. right at the beginning. The beginning of the book needs to be like a movie- not a history book. Put in these facts one by one, dotting the book, letting the readers learn these things one by one. Don’t ever put anything like this: ‘Anne was twelve years old when she first went to Green Gables. Before that, she had been a lonely orphan in an asylum, and often talked to herself to keep herself from being all alone.’ That sounds quite immature, doesn’t it? Instead, Lucy Montgomery put in the facts one by one, telling the story, weaving it together, putting fact over fact, each of a different color.

4. Avoid answering questions

In the first chapter, I want to be left in the dark. I want to be asking questions. I want to have a good enough understanding of the world they live in, but I want to still be asking questions at the end. If you answer every question you proposed, I wouldn’t feel like I needed to read the rest of the book. I would feel satisfied. As mean as it sounds, you do not want the reader to be satisfied. You want them to fidget, wondering what’s going to happen next, hoping that they don’t have to wake up at 3 a.m. again to read what will happen next. Sorry, insomniacs, but it is the author’s goal to keep you up as late as possible. How do we do that? Keep them asking questions- and don’t answer them in the same chapter. Keep them waiting, hoping, sweating for the answer. And then, finally, when they get the answer, they are farther along in the book.

5. Avoid using an excessive amount of poetic similes

“Her smile was like a ray of sunshine shining on a freezing land.” These similes are fine, as long as they are used in moderation. But, I would advise you to eliminate them from your first chapter altogether. Because, most often, the similes are used to describe something we don’t need to know about. The reader will just skim over that description like this; she has a smile like a ray of sunshine. Yeah, I don’t care. Describe things as they are for now and then, later on in the book, you can go ahead and add similes. But, unless you are trying to write a very poetic book -which I caution you against- be careful when you use them. A good amount of similes can be beautiful- an excessive amount is immature.

Questions? Comments? Do not hesitate to make them known in the comment section below!