Star Wars Story Structure


Outlines, outlines and more outlines.  I’ve spent the past few days mulling over major milestones of several well-known stories.  I wanted to jot some of them down, because this exercise is helping me feel the cadence of writing an entire novel.

STAR WARS (A New Hope):  I can’t do a post about story structure without discussing STAR WARS!!!!  There are MANY, MANY posts on this topic.  I’ve skimmed a bunch of them and chosen the points that make the most sense to me.  Here goes:

HOOK:  Most of the posts I’ve read online have stated the hook in Star Wars is that Luke Skywalker is a bored young farm boy who longs for adventure.  Now, as a new writer, who am I to question the experts, right?  But as a movie spectator, this was NOT the hook for ME.  What hooked me was Darth Vader storming Leia’s ship and taking her hostage.  I wanted to find out what happened next.  Isn’t that the very definition of a hook?       

INCITING INCIDENT:  This story never would have happened if Luke Skywalker had left R2D2 alone.  But Luke’s adventure begins when he accidentally triggers Princess Leia’s distress message in R2D2.  

PLOT POINT #1:  I always think of this milestone as the “point of no return.”  The hero must make an important decision at this point in the story.  In Star Wars, Luke Skywalker CHOOSES to go with Obi Wan Kenobi to fight the Empire.

PINCH POINT #1:  Ah, yes.  The antagonist makes his presence known in this part of the story.  Luke Skywalker narrowly escapes capture by Imperial Storm Troopers when he tries to leave Tattooine with the droids.

[NOTE:  ENTER THE ALLIES – Luke Skywalker picks up allies (Hans Solo and Chewbacca) who help him escape being caught in this pinch point.]

MIDPOINT:  The story COMPLETELY changes when Luke Skywalker shows up where the rebel base is supposed to be and discovers that the entire planet of Alderaan has been blown up.  Well, if THAT isn’t a game changer, then I don’t know what is.  Oh, wait.  There’s more.  He and his new friends are pulled into the Death Star.  They discover Princess Leia is on the ship.  NEW PLAN!!!  Rescue Princess Leia!

PINCH POINT #2:  Avoiding death by garbage compactor and then escaping the Death Star was a pretty big pinch point……  And let’s not forget the infamous “All Is Lost” moment:  Obi Wan Kenobi dies.  Luke loses his mentor.  This is definitely the bleakest moment in the story.

PLOT POINT #2:  This milestone was a little trickier for me to see clearly in this story.  It’s supposed to be the point when the hero finally attains the final object or piece of information that he or she needs to achieve his or her goal.  After several attempts at trying to detonate the Death Star, Luke finally decides to trust his ability to manage “The Force.”  He shuts off the computer on his ship and just lets The Force guide him.  So, to me, it isn’t that he finally ACQUIRES something – he finally USES something that he always had.  So maybe he acquires confidence?  I’m not sure.

RESOLUTION:  Yay!  The Death Star is blown up and everyone is saved.  Of course, there has to be tangible recognition of the hero’s victory.  What better way to tangibly acknowledge the hero’s victory than an award ceremony?  Princess Leia awards Luke and Han with an award and everyone in the large audience claps.  Woo-Hoo!

Well, that was fun.  It definitely gave me some ideas for the cadence of the Charlie Weaver story.  I hope that this post helped some of you out there too.  Thank you for reading!

Day 9: ANOTHER Self-Imposed 30-Day Writing Challenge

Day 9.  Two dwarves.  One mission.  To make a special delivery to a realm called Earth.  Let’s see how this scene from Charlie Weaver goes:  (The italicized portion is from the Day 8 post.  I needed a running start……)

“I would have much rather stayed at home and tended my garden.  But did I?  No.  Instead I’m here, risking my life for you.”  Sherbert turned her back to him and jumped down from the step.

“Well, I don’t need your help,” Herbert snapped.  “I’ve been on plenty of missions.  I could have done this one by myself.”

Sherbert scowled. “Fine.  If you don’t want me here, then I’m leaving.”

Before she could storm off, the thick, wooden door swung open.  A baritone voice cut through the silence of the night.  “Great horny toads!  Who the dickens are you?  And why are you bothering me in the middle of the night?”

Both dwarves stopped talking and stared at the curious figure on the porch.  A large man with long gray hair, bushy dark brows and a grizzled beard bent down and scowled at them.  Was this the Guardian that they were seeking?  He bore no resemblance to the dignified persona each dwarf had envisioned.

“Your caterwauling is going to wake up the entire neighborhood,” he boomed, waving one large, beefy hand at them.  “Move, critters.”

Herbert barely squeaked out his question.  “Move?”

“Yes.  MOVE, critter.  MOVE,” the man bellowed, waving one large, beefy hand at them.  “Quit yammering and move inside the house before someone spots you.”

Completely flustered, Herbert picked up the basket and walked into the house without protest.  Even Sherbert, who was normally unruffled by anything, failed to point out the sloping landscape that surrounded the house.  The closest neighbor was at least one mile away.  Intimidated, she followed her brother inside.

The man waved them into a large room.  Embers crackled in the fireplace, giving the room a warm, cozy glow.  Tan walls were decorated with colorful tapestries.  There was one large sofa and an arm chair by the fireplace.  Herbert and Sherbert exchanged uncertain glances.

“Well, don’t just stand there gawking at me like a bunch of pop-eyed toads.  Sit down,” the man boomed, pointing to the sofa.  “Sit, sit.”

Gingerly, Sherbert climbed onto the sofa.  Herbert gently placed the basket by the arm chair, before started his formal introduction speech.  “Greetings Sir,” Herbert started, squaring his shoulders.  “On behalf of the Elders Council, allow me…..”

“Elders Council?”  The man guffawed, reaching into a box on a table next to the arm chair.  He pulled out a pipe.  “What the hell is an Elders Council?”  The man struck a match, lit the end of the pipe and puffed three perfect rings of smoke before glaring at Herbert.

This wasn’t how this first meeting was supposed to go.  Not at all.  Especially not when such an important delivery was at stake.  Herbert had no idea how to proceed when a recipient didn’t follow protocol.  Floored, he looked helplessly at Sherbert.

Sighing, Sherbert hopped down from the sofa.  It was time to take charge.  “Sir, it would help if you didn’t yell at us.”

“Yell?” The man bellowed in a voice that echoed from the rafters of the house.  “I’m not yelling.  Quit stalling and get to the point, Missy.  Who are you and what’s your business here?”

“Lanka is under attack,” Herbert blurted out and immediately regretted it.  So much for following protocol and gently approaching the recipient about the delivery.

Well, that news silenced the man.  He actually appeared stunned for a moment, as he processed Herbert’s statement.


Day 8: ANOTHER Self-Imposed 30-Day Writing Challenge

Day 8.  I know that I’m going to drive anyone reading this blog crazy, but I’m switching stories.  Back to Charlie Weaver et. al.  Here goes:

CHARLIE WEAVER:  CHAPTER XX – The Bickering Heralds

Once upon a time, on the island of Lanka, there lived a creature called Herbert.  The Council of Elders, who managed very important affairs in the realm of human beings, often sent Herbert on errands.  You see, Herbert was quite tall for a dwarf.  In fact, he was tall enough to pass as a small human being.  All of them knew Herbert was very good at blending in, which is why he was chosen to make a very important delivery to the human realm.

Since birth, Herbert’s twin sister, Sherbert, had never been separated from her brother’s side.  Trips to the human realm were no exception.  She was obviously a dwarf, but when disguised, could pass as an Earth child.  Sherbert was given permission to accompany Herbert on this next trip.

Visits to different realms were always exciting.  A visit to Earth was particularly exciting, but it did nothing to dampen the siblings’ spirited fighting.  Oblivious to the sights and sounds along the long route to earth, Herbert and Sherbert continued to bicker all the way to their final destination.  If one said it was too hot, the other said it was too cold.  If one said that the sky was blue, the other predicted rain.  In short, they wouldn’t have had it any other way.

They finally approached their final destination in the middle of the night.  The farmhouse was dark and quiet.  Both dwarves looked up at the knocker on the heavy door.  Neither of them made a move to knock it.  “Maybe we should wait until morning,” Herbert suggested.

“No,” Sherbert replied.  She looked at her brother expectantly.  “This is too important to wait.”

Herbert slowly lifted his hand up to the knocker and then dropped it.  Uneasy, he glanced at his sister.  “You tell him.”

Sherbert frowned up at him, placing small hands on her hips.  “I will not.  This is your mission.  You tell him.”

Shaking his head, Herbert replied.  “No, you tell him.

Sherbert retorted.  “I don’t want to tell him.”

Herbert said.  “But it’s your turn.”

Sherbert threw up her hands.  The disgust was evident on her face.  “Why is it always my turn when the news is bad?”

Herbert looked down at the large basket resting near the front door.  Its occupant was sleeping peacefully.  Herbert kicked a pebble on the porch, before mumbling, “This isn’t bad news.”

“Then you tell him,” Sherbert insisted, crossing her arms across her chest and staring at Herbert.

“You’re the one who wanted to come,” Herbert scowled.  This blasted trip hadn’t been worth it.  He should have said no to this visit.  The thought of having to relay his news made him queasy.  “You could at least make yourself useful, since I allowed you to come with me.”

“You allowed me to come?”  Sherbert repeated, raising her eyebrows.

“That’s right.  The Elders didn’t even want you to come.” Herbert’s chin jutted forward, desperate to convince her to relay the news.  He glanced at the basket and lowered his voice to a loud whisper.  “I made the decision.  And now, I’m starting to wonder if I made a mistake.”

Sherbert’s lower lip quivered.  She took a step towards her brother and poked him in the chest with one finger.  “This wasn’t your decision.  The Elders asked me to come with you.  They thought that you would need my help.”

“You’re making that up,” Herbert said, offended.  Why would the Elders think that he needed Sherbert’s help?  The idea was preposterous.

“I would have much rather stayed at home and tended my garden.  But did I?  No.  Instead I’m here, risking my life for you.”  Sherbert turned her back to him and jumped down from the step.

“Well, I don’t need your help,” Herbert snapped.  “I’ve been on plenty of missions.  I could have done this one by myself.”

Sherbert scowled. “Fine.  If you don’t want me here, then I’m leaving.”

Random Thoughts About Writing My 1st Novel (Part 2)

Skip this post unless you’re REALLY bored.  I’ve hit the wall and I’m using it to work my way through it.

This novel writing thing is hard.  I feel as if all of the progress that I made at the end of last year has come undone.  I am at a complete loss on how to proceed.  (Some of you are yelling at me to OUTLINE!!!  But I am drawing a blank even when I try to outline!)

I wanted the book to be funny, but there’s nothing funny coming out of me right now.  (Okay, that was unintentionally funny, because it can be taken the wrong way.)  It’s easy to be funny in person or make snarky comments on a website, but true satire is HARD for me.

How do you achieve Seinfeld-esque wit or Chandler Bing sarcasm when all that’s flowing on the paper is knock-knock jokes?  It’s horrible.

So, what’s funny?  What makes me laugh in stories?  Or more importantly, what kept me INTERESTED in stories, even when I wasn’t laughing?

STAR WARS:  The banter between Hans Solo and Princess Leia made the Star Wars movies for me.  I watched them over the holidays.  It had been years since I had seen them.  I know that I may get torpedoed for saying this, but the dialogue was, er, not so good.  And yes, Episodes 4-6 had far superior dialogue than Episodes 1-3 did, but seriously, Episodes 4-6 didn’t exactly have great dialogue either.

I really think George Lucas owes his Star Wars success to Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher.  They saved those movies.  Without their banter, I honestly think the entire Star Wars franchise wouldn’t exist.  Even Mark Hamil’s lines were cheesy to the point of punch-him-in-the-throat irritating.  I was this close (picture fingers pinched together) to hurling my remote control at the screen during Luke Skywalker’s scenes.  Whiny and annoying, he was.  (Channeling Yoda, I am.)

HARRY POTTER:  What did I like about Harry Potter?  The entire wizarding world?  That’s too broad.  Let me mull this over.  I liked the good vs. evil thing.  Again, too broad.  I liked the boarding school.  Yeah, that’s getting more specific.  Come to think of it, I’ve always liked boarding school stories.  I grew up reading Enid Blyton’s “Twins At St. Clare’s” stories.  What is it about boarding school that’s so appealing?  I guess throwing a bunch of unsupervised, young, hormonally-driven people together in a confined space is a recipe for entertainment.

I remember how thrilled I was when I finally left home for college.  I couldn’t wait for my parents to leave so that I could explore the university campus with my new friends.  Maybe part of this nostalgia is what made Harry Potter so appealing to me.  Interesting.

PERCY JACKSON:  The reasons I liked the Percy Jackson books are fairly basic.  Percy Jackson is funny and the story is based on Greek mythology, which I love.  Nothing beats a good prophecy-driven quest.

I recently picked up a copy of Rick Riordan’s Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard.  It’s pretty good, but I just can’t get into it the same way I got into Percy Jackson.  It feel as if it’s the same story, but with Norse gods, instead of Greek gods.  I’m only part way through the book, so I realize that I haven’t given it a chance.  I’ll finish the entire thing and perhaps include it as another “textbook” to study.  So, the most interesting thing about these books for me is the foundation in myth.

GREGOR THE OVERLANDER:  Gregor is very similar to other young adult fantasy heroes.  He has an unfortunate “current” circumstance, is thrown into a “magical” situation, and turns out to be the “chosen” one with “special abilities.”  Blah, blah, blah.

What made this book a little different for me was the whole “Alice in Wonderland” thing.  Gregor and his 2-year old little sister accidentally fall down a laundry room chute and land in another world.  They talk with animals and fight with swords.  Gregor is a warrior.  You see where I’m going with this?  😉

MY CONCLUSION:  I didn’t realize that this post would evolve into an abridged young adult fantasy book review, but that’s what happens when I follow my “stream of consciousness.”  So what have I learned?

I need banter, a boarding school and an “other world” tumble to make a story interesting for myself.  “Special” ability is good – perhaps some levitating or mind control.  Maybe a prophecy and a quest.

Add a touch of Indian mythology and this is my recipe.  Time to work that into my novel.


Day 12 of 30: Write 15 Minutes of Absurdity

Ah, yes.  After riding this Donkey Kong vibe for what seems like FOREVER, we finally have a monkey in the story.  So what on earth should I do with it?  Let’s try this:  (NOTE:  I need a running start, so the portion in italics is from the previous post.)

“Charlie, we have to get out of here.  That’s an Asura,” Aryana stepped out of the cave to grab my arm.  She tugged me in the direction of the tunnel.  “Run, Charlie,” she screamed, pulling on me.

I’m no Asura.  

The stranger stood outside of the cave and pulled back his hood.  Aryana and I just stared at the stranger in shock.

It was a monkey.  A very tall, dark-haired monkey draped in a long, black cloak.  He tilted his head to one side and studied me with surprisingly human eyes.    

Hello, Charlie.  I’ve been expecting you.

“Wh-Who are you?” I stammered.  My heart beat wildly at the sound of the deep baritone voice.  I could feel a rivulet of sweat drip down the back of my neck.  The monkey had to be at least six and a half feet tall.

Don’t you remember who I am?  

The monkey took a few steps towards us.  He bared his teeth.  I had the strange feeling that he was grinning at us, but since I couldn’t tell with certainty, I placed a hand on the hilt of my sword.  “Stay away from us,” I warned him, and stood in front of Aryana.  “I’m a Warrior.  I’ll fight you if I have to.”  It wasn’t a complete lie.  I wasn’t technically a Warrior, but I had watched Shivani and Ryan in enough fights with Asuras to get the gist of things.  I’m a strong guy.  How hard could it be to handle a sword?  Just swing and slice.

A strange sound came out of the monkey’s mouth.  He clutched his stomach and bent over at the waist, convulsing.  I thought he was having a fit, until it hit me.  “Are you laughing?” I demanded, while carefully rearranging my features to look stern.  My scowl did nothing to intimidate the monkey, since he continued to laugh.

“Who are you talking to?” Aryana asked, obviously perplexed.

“The monkey,” I replied automatically.

“You think you’re talking with this creature?  Charlie, it’s a monkey.  He can’t talk,” Aryana glanced at the shaking monkey and back at me.  She shook her head.  “I think we need someone to talk a look at you.  You’re hallucinating.  Let’s leave before you get worse.”

Of course I’m laughing.  You’re no Warrior.  The idea of you fighting me is absurd.  I could knock you down with just a flick of my tail.  

Something moved under the rear of his cloak.  I assumed that it was his tail.  Water streamed out of the the monkey’s eyes.  If he had been human, I would have said that he was laughing so hard that he was crying.

“Come on, Charlie,” Aryana said, as she wiped beads of sweat from her forehead.  The heat from the forest fire was getting stronger.  Tugging on my sleeve, she said hoarsely, “Get in the tunnel.  The fire is too close.  We can’t leave the cave now.”

The girl is right.  You have taken too long.  The fire is all around us.  Climb on my back.  I’ll have to carry both of you to safety.  

The monkey squatted down on his haunches.  He squared his shoulder and leaned over.

“I’m not going anywhere with you until I know who you are,” I replied sternly.

“Oh, for goodness sakes,” Aryana rolled her eyes, reached out and grabbed my shoulders.  She shook me gently.  “Charlie.  I am Aryana.  You aren’t thinking clearly.  Please listen to me.”  She said each sentence very slowly, as if speaking to a small child.  “The forest is on fire.  We have to get out of here.”

If a monkey could roll his eyes, then that’s what this monkey did.

Enough of this foolish banter.  

He raised a paw and stared at us.  His eyes changed color.  Brown to gold.

The dizziness hit me like a wall.  I gasped and tried to grab the side of the cave to support myself.  My limbs felt heavy.  I could feel my knees buckle under my weight.  I tried to crawl towards Aryana, but it took me a few moments to figure out where she was.  Turning my head in her direction took a lot of effort.

Aryana was still standing.  Before I could call out her name, her eyes rolled backwards.  I watched her hit the ground a few moments before I collapsed on the ground next to her.  The last thing I remember was the monkey standing over both of us.  And then there was nothing.

Day 11 of 30: Write 15 Minutes of Absurdity

Day 11.  Time to ratchet up the level of absurdity in this story.  In the first chapter, Charlie Weaver “spoke” with telepathic “Yoda” cows.  I think Charlie needs to tap into this ability again.  Here goes:

Aryana and I stood at the cave entrance.  The ground beneath our feet rumbled, but neither of us moved.  We both just stared in wonder.  Even though I grew up on a farm, I had never seen so many animals panicked at the same time.  Bears, monkeys, lions, tigers, water buffalo, deer, and other wild animals rushed by the mouth of the cave.  My body tensed because they were uncaged, but none of them glanced in our direction.  After a few moments, I relaxed.

My eyes started to water.  The big clouds of dust caused by the rush of animals reached the cave.  I coughed and waved a hand in front of me, trying to clear the air.  A herd of water buffalo raced by us.  Their stampeding hooves echoed through the valley.  “Where are they going?” I asked loudly.

“They must be heading for the river,” Aryana replied.  She sniffed the air again and shook her head.  “I don’t want to leave without Paw Paw, but the fire is getting closer.  We have to get someplace safe.”

We finally agreed on something.  I nodded.  “Yeah, but where do we go?”

Follow the animals, Charlie Weaver.   

“What?  Did you just say something?” I turned to Aryana.  Despite the gravity of our situation, I couldn’t help thinking how pretty she looked.  All of those long dark waves and golden brown freckles made me forget my question for a moment.  I could have just stood there staring into her big blue eyes for hours.

“No,” Aryana shook her head, loosening a few dark curls.  I fought the urge to brush back the tiny tendrils around her forehead.  “Nothing other than we need to leave.  Why?”

Follow the animals, Charlie Weaver.  There it was again.  I pulled my gaze away from Aryana and looked outside of the cave.  That voice.  It sounded familiar.

I picked up my backpack and slipped the straps over my shoulders.  I squared them and hoped Aryana noticed how broad they were.  “We need to get out of here,” I said, deepening my voice.  I liked how authoritative I sounded.  It was time to start using this voice.

“I just said that,” Aryana said, picking up her backpack.  “Honestly, do you ever listen to anything I say?”  She rolled her eyes.  It was a perfect imitation of Shivani Roy.  Obviously, Aryana had been spending way too much time with my sarcastic sidekick.

Stop gawking at the girl, Charlie Weaver.

I started and looked around me.  There it was again.  The voice.  And it obviously wasn’t Aryana.  After a moment, I swear I heard the voice mutter something about always getting the slow ones.  It continued.

For the last time, Charlie Weaver, follow the animals.  They will lead you to safety.

“Who are you?”  I asked out loud, craning my neck to search around us.  There was no one else in the cave with us.

“Who?”  Aryana stared at me, confused.  She watched me look around the cave.  “Who are you talking to?”

Take the girl and follow the animals.  Do it now or be engulfed by the flames.  

“Let’s follow the animals,” I repeated, grabbing Aryana’s hand.  She pulled it away from me.  I shrugged and stepped just outside of the cave.  After spending so much time inside the dark cave, my eyes weren’t used to the light.  I squinted in the bright sunlight.

“Are you insane?” she asked, backing away from me.  “Those animals will trample us to death if we leave the cave.”  She pointed behind her. “There’s a tunnel.  Let’s follow it and see where it leads.”

No harm will befall you from the animals.  But Asura flames are almost here.  

The hairs on the back of my neck stood up.  I turned away from Aryana.  My gaze fell on a dark figure approaching us.  My first instinct told me that this was the creature I had seen on the cliff, but I dismissed the thought.  It was someone wearing a dark hooded cloak.

I don’t know why I didn’t immediately run into the tunnel with Aryana.  I just stood there, staring at the hooded stranger.  Whoever it was seemed to glide towards us.  I watched in amazement as it walked right into the stampede without losing pace.  The animals didn’t trample the stranger.  They continued to run, but left a wide berth around it.

“Charlie, we have to get out of here.  That’s an Asura,” Aryana stepped out of the cave to grab my arm.  She tugged me in the direction of the tunnel.  “Run, Charlie,” she screamed, pulling on me.

I’m no Asura.  The stranger stood outside of the cave and pulled back his hood.  Aryana and I just stared at the stranger in shock.

It was a monkey.

Day 10 of 30: Write 15 Minutes of Absurdity

It has been WAY too long since the last time I wrote something on this blog.  The New Year is approaching and I want to get back into writing fiction.  Well, to be more precise, writing “snarky” fiction.

For some people, this comes without effort.  For me, it takes work, which is strange, because in real life, most people would tell you that I’m a sarcastic person.  But how do I translate that into writing?  How does someone write an ENTIRE NOVEL filled with snark?  I won’t even call it satire, because I think that’s a little too cerebral for me.  I’d like my first book to be borderline “Sharknado” fiction (i.e. so absurd that people think it’s funny).

Well, time to stop procrastinating and start practicing.  Let’s get back to the Donkey Kong vibe, Charlie Weaver and whatever else pops into my head.  Here goes:

“Is that a monkey?”  I stared out of the cave.  It felt like we were being watched.  A movement caught my eye.

“What monkey?”  Aryana asked, as she rummaged through her back pack.  She pulled out two flash lights and handed one to me.

I took it from her.  My gaze settled on the cliff across the valley.  There was a figure lurking in the shadow.  When it moved again, I tapped her on the shoulder and pointed.  “There.  Do you see it?  I swear that it’s a monkey.”

“I don’t think that’s a monkey,” Aryana replied, squinting at the figure.  She pulled out a knife from her back pack and strapped it to her leg.  “It’s too big.”

I frowned.  Paw Paw had been gone for at least thirty minutes.  He said he wanted to scout the area before we moved ahead on the path, but it shouldn’t have taken this long.  I had a funny feeling in the pit of my stomach that the figure had something to do with his absence.

“We can’t leave,” Aryana replied, frowning at me.  “Paw Paw hasn’t returned.  He’ll be back momentarily.”

I winced at her tone.  She thought I was being a coward.  But I wasn’t.  “We can’t stay here if that’s an Asura.  What if that thing is the reason Paw Paw isn’t back yet?  He may need our help.”

“He told us to stay here until he returned,” Aryana said.  Her voice was firm.  “I’m not going anywhere without him.”

The ground beneath our feet started to rumble.  “What is that?” Aryana asked, eyes wide.

“Earthquake,” I yelled and pushed her to the ground.  I threw my body over her, like any good hero would do.

“Get off of me,” she shrieked.  Her small hands pushed against my chest.  The rest of her words were drowned out by the loud noises coming from just outside of the cave.

“No,” I yelled, and brushed a stray strand of dark hair from her face.  A surge of pride shot through me.  I was using my body to shield this poor, defenseless girl against falling rocks.  It was something a hero would do.  I placed one hand on each of her cheeks and looked into her deep blue eyes.  “It’s okay.  I’m saving you.”

The next thing I saw was her scowl.  Suddenly, I felt nothing but pain.  It took me a moment to realize that Aryana kneed me in the groin.  Whimpering, I couldn’t resist her when she pushed me off of her body.  “Why did you do that?” I asked hoarsely, doubling over in pain.  “I was trying to protect you from the earthquake.”

Aryana dusted herself off and stood up.  Her look was scathing.  “There’s no earthquake, you simpleton,” Aryana snarled, and pointed outside the cave.  “That’s a stampede.”

She walked over to the cave entrance.  After a few moments, I limped over and joined her.  Sure enough, hundreds of animals were running across the valley, towards the cliff.  “What on earth,” I muttered, confused.

“I smell smoke,” Aryana whispered.  Her pert little nose wrinkled, as she sniffed the air delicately.  “I think the forest is on fire.”




Day 9 of 30: Write 15 Minutes of Absurdity

Well, this is starting to get interesting.  I’m kind of digging this Donkey Kong vibe.  On Day 8, I ended with the group of heroes getting attacked by something flying through the air. Were they fireballs?  Were they flaming barrels?  And how does a monkey fit into this?  Let’s move to the scene after the Asura attack and see how this goes:

“The Asuras are getting stronger,” Serenity said softly.  “It’s a good thing that Shivani was with us.”  The worry on her face was obvious.

“I agree,” Paw Paw nodded.  “We wouldn’t have defeated them without her.”

“Hey, what about me?” Ryan exclaimed, putting a hand on his hip.  I didn’t know him very well, but I already recognized mock outrage on his face when I saw it.  He lifted up his sword and slashed at the air.  “I was amazing in battle.  I knocked off at least ten Asuras all by myself.”

“Yes, yes, you’re very amazing.  We’ll give you a cookie later,” Shivani muttered.  When Ryan raised an eyebrow at her, Shivani raised her hands defensively.  “Okay, I admit it.  You’re a much better warrior than I expected you to be.”

“Such glowing praise,” Ryan replied, putting his sword on the ground.  He placed his hand over his heart.  “I’m overwhelmed.  Thank you, sunshine.  You’re not a bad warrior yourself.  For a girl.”

Shivani scowled.  Before she could say anything, Director Fussybottom said, “I have to return to the castle.  The Asuras will be back.”  He and Paw Paw exchanged glances.  “And now that they know about Shivani, they’ll use more force.”

Paw Paw exhaled in frustration.  “We need help.  But who?” His dark eyes surveyed the land before us and suddenly gleamed.  “The Vanaras.”

“Who?”  I asked, glancing at Shivani.  She shrugged.  Neither one of us knew who Paw Paw was talking about.

Aryana’s blue eyes widened in surprise.  She shook her head as her dark brows knit together.  “Surely you jest,” she said.  “They won’t help us.”

Director Fussybottom nodded.  “The girl is right.  They keep to themselves.”

“What are Vanaras?” Shivani asked.

“Forest dwellers.  They aren’t a part of civilization,” Professor Pedantic sniffed.  There was contempt in his voice.  “They prefer to live in the woods like animals.”

“The Vanaras are far more than that,” Paw Paw sighed, shaking his head.  He squared his shoulders and looked right at Aryana.  “Do you want to save your princess?”

“Of course,” Aryana said indignantly.

“Then we’ll need their help,” Paw Paw replied simply.  Aryana opened her mouth to protest, but then remained silent when he held up his hand. “The Devas are no match for the Asuras right now.  We’re outmanned and outnumbered.  If we can convince the Vanaras to fight with us, then we may have a chance.”

“If you can trust them,” Director Fussybottom muttered.

“There is no reason to distrust them,” Professor Serenity said mildly.  “I’ve only met a few, but the ones I knew were honorable.”

Paw Paw smiled slightly.  His eyes met hers.  “Perhaps you should be the one to lead a group to ask for their help.”

“I don’t think that’s a good idea,” Director Fussybottom frowned.  He looked at Serenity.  “You should come back to the castle with me.”

Serenity ignored him and nodded at Paw Paw.  “I’ll go, but I’ll need help finding them.”  She looked at the rest of the group.    “Who will come with me?”

“You’ll need at least one Warrior, so I’ll go,” Ryan said, smiling at his mother.

Serenity returned his smile, before raising an eyebrow at the rest of us. “Anyone else?  Shivani?  Charlie?  I could use another Warrior.”

“I’ll go,” Shivani nodded slowly, before shooting a wary glance at Ryan.  “But your son has to stop trying to make me mad.”

Serenity’s face broke out into a smile.  Her mischievous grin startled me.  She looked so much like Ryan.  “If he so much as breathes on you inappropriately, he’ll have to deal with me.”

Both women looked at Ryan.  He held up his right hand and placed it over his heart.  “I promise.  I will be on my best behavior.”

“What about the rest of you?” Serenity asked.

Paw Paw shook his head.  “I need the others to help me.  The Elders will need protection on their journey home.  But after we see them safely to the castle, we’ll catch up to you.  Are you headed for Dandaka Forest?”

Serenity nodded.  “Yes.  That’s the last place they were spotted.  We can start there.”

Day 8 of 30: Write 15 Minutes of Absurdity

For those of you who are new to this blog, I’ve been trying to write 15-minutes of absurdity a day.  For a while, I was doing really well.  During that wave of snark momentum, I began a story called “Charlie Weaver and the Prophecy of Doom.”  It’s a satire that mocks the entire young adult fantasy genre.  The two main characters are Charlie Weaver and Shivani Roy.  Charlie Weaver is a likable, incompetent hero who stumbles ass-backwards into good things.  Shivani Roy is intense, sarcastic, and saves Charlie on several occasions.

I know that I’m going to age myself with this one, but for some reason, I’m feeling a Donkey Kong vibe.  I need a quest.  And a princess.  Maybe some fireballs and a barrel or two?  I’m not sure.  Let’s start this and see where it goes:

Ryan tossed the apple in the air, caught it, and grinned at us.  “Well, there’s nothing like a good quest to start the summer.”  He took large bite and started chomping on it loudly.  “So, what’s all of this about?”

Shivani rolled her eyes, before turning her attention to Aryana.  “What do you need us to do?”

“We need your help,” Aryana said, pushing a long strand of dark, wavy brown hair over her shoulder.  “The princess is missing.”

“What princess?” I asked gently, looking down into her large blue eyes.  They were framed by the longest eyelashes I had ever seen in my life.  She looked so sad that I wanted to pick her up and hug her.

“Is she hot?”  Ryan asked at the same time.

Aryana shifted her eyes towards him.  She looked confused.  “Hot?”

“Really?  Hot?”  Shivani shook her head in disgust.  “What does that have to do with anything?”  She placed her hands on her hips and stared at him.

“Now, Vani, don’t get upset,” Ryan replied.  I could almost picture the steam coming out of Shivani’s ears at the name ‘Vani.’  He grinned at her and continued.  “You know that I think you’re hot too.  In an angry sort of way.  But I need the information for this quest.”  He leaned against the side of the cave and looked at Aryana.  “So, you were about to tell us what she looks like?”

“She is a lovely person,” Aryana said, her voice wistful.

“Oh, for the love of,” Shivani muttered.  “You don’t have to answer his questions, Aryana.”

Ryan ignored Shivani.  His brow furrowed.  “Does that mean she has a good personality?”

“Oh, yes,” Aryana replied, nodding her head.  One dark curl escaped from her hair band.  “The princess has been wonderful to my family and me.”

“Well, that’s great that she’s a nice person,” Ryan said, before taking another bite of his apple.  “But how does she look?”

“She has an alabaster brow,” Aryan began.

I interrupted.  “What’s an alabaster brow?”

Aryana frowned at me.  “I’m not sure, but she has one”

“Enough,” Shivani shot Ryan and me a look of disgust.  “Will both of you please be quiet and let her finish? ” she snapped and turned towards Aryana.  Her face softened.  “Aryana, please continue.”

“Princess Poppycock is the most beautiful Bharatian in the land,” Aryana replied in surprise.  “I thought everyone knew that.”

“Princess Poopcup?” I repeated, confused.  I had never heard of her before.  Was she the leader of the dwarves?  Or Aryana’s people?

Shivani choked, covered her mouth with her hand, and turned away from Aryana.  Ryan saw her and grinned, but he quickly changed his expression to look serious.  He nodded at Aryana to continue.

“Princess Poppycock,” Aryana repeated.  She didn’t notice Shivani’s shoulders shaking.  “Her hair is the color of a raven’s wing, her lips are as red as cherries.  Her skin is as soft as a lotus petal and her eyes sparkle like jewels.  She is so beautiful that birds sing on her approach and small, woodland creatures offer her flowers when she crosses their paths,” Aryana turned her serious gaze on us.  “Men have died for her.”

“She’s that good-looking, eh?” Ryan’s eyebrows raised.  He tossed the apple core away and slapped his hand on his thigh.  “Well, then by all means, count me in.  I’ll find your hot, I mean, your princess.”  He picked up his bag, threw it over his shoulder and took a few steps before stopping.  “Oh, by the way, does this princess have money?”

Shivani’s dark brows knit together.  Before she could retort, the fireball landed just a few feet away from Ryan.  “Asuras,” he shouted at us, and pulled out a sword.  “Run for cover!”

Shivani dove into Aryana just as another fireball landed a few feet away from the cave entrance.  She scrambled to her feet as I ran over to them.  “Charlie, get her into the cave,” Shivani shouted at me, and pulled Aryana to her feet.  She pushed the two of us towards the cave, before pulling something out of her pocket.  It was the necklace from Big Bucks.  She slipped it over her head and looked at us.  Her eyes changed color.  They were topaz.  The color of the Asuras.




Day 3 of 30: Write 15 Minutes of Absurdity

Okay, it’s Day 3 and I’m still feeling this Star Wars vibe.  I know that I’m leaving some gaps in the story, but I’ll go back and fill them in later.  The “heralds” need to bring a message to the “Obi-Wan” in my story.  So, here goes:

A man wearing a hooded cloak exited the cave.  He swung a bag off from his shoulder and placed it on the ground.  I could see him pulling something out of the bag and putting it down on a rock in front of him.  “Look,” I pointed.  “That must be him.  The Great Ghost Warrior.”  I sprinted up the hill towards him.  I could hear the others in our group follow me.

“Excuse me, sir,” I called out, as I maneuvered around the rocky terrain.  I could feel the sand slide under my boots, so I kept an eye on the ground in front of me.  “Are you the Great Ghost Warrior?”

The man in the hooded cloak stopped what he was doing to stare at me.  He reached into his pocket and pulled out something.  It was a sword.

“Charlie,” Shivani shrieked behind me, as the man lifted his sword.  “Get down.”

I felt her shove me from behind.  I landed behind a rock, just as the man brought down his sword.  A few moments passed before I heard it.  Laughter.  The man in the cloak was laughing hysterically.

Shivani marched up to him and snarled.  “What’s so funny?”

“You guys,” the man said, laughing.  “You’re all like, oh, my God, duck.  Here comes a dude with a sword.”  He collapsed on the ground, convulsing in mirth.  “And I was just cutting my sandwich.”

I sat up and looked at the rock.  Sure enough, there was a whole sandwich resting on a napkin.  I stood up and dusted the dirt from my pants.

Shivani stood over the man, arms on her hip.  I recognized the flash in her gold eyes.  She was about to punch him.  Since we needed his help, I scrambled between them.  “I’m okay, Shivani,” I said, before turning to extend my hand to the laughing guy.  “Hi, I’m Charlie Weaver.  You must be the Great Ghost Warrior.”

“I am?” The man stood up and looked around.  I felt a pang when I realized that he was as tall as I was.  My gaze narrowed.  He looked like someone who could be a hero.  Like me. “Okay.”

Aryana stepped forward, visibly trembling with excitement.  Her cheeks were flushed a pretty pink.  “I’ve been looking for you for a long time.”

The man’s eyes widened.  He smiled and pulled back the hood on his cloak.  I blinked.  The Great Ghost Warrior was a lot younger than I was expecting.  Like not much older than I was.  “You have?  Well, sweetheart, here I am.”  He took her small hand in his and touched his lips to it.  She flushed a deeper red.  “How can I help you?”  His gaze lingered on her face.

Shivani snorted and stepped between Aryana and the man, breaking their grip.  “Oh, please.  This isn’t the Great Ghost Warrior.”

“No, it is not,” Professor Serenity said.  I glanced behind me.  The rest of the Elders had caught up with us.  Professor Serenity raised an eyebrow.  “Hello, Ryan.”

The young man grinned at her.  With perfect white teeth.  I should have allowed Shivani to punch him.  “Hi, Mom.”

“Mom?” Shivani sputtered.  All of us stared at the two of them in shock.  The resemblance between them was more apparent when they stood next to each other.  Despite his dark blond hair, Ryan’s face was very similar in to Professor Serenity’s.  They shared the same green eyes.

“You have a son?” I asked, feeling slightly injured.  I understood Shivani’s outrage.  Ever since I arrived in Bharat, Professor Serenity had been like a parent to me.  But it was all an act.  She already had a son.  This guy who was eyeing Aryana like she was a piece of meat.  My irritation grew when I saw Aryana smile back at him.

“Yes.  This is Ryan,” Serenity nodded.  “Ryan, this is Charlie Weaver.”

When I extended my hand again, Ryan slapped it.  I pulled it back, unsure of what to make of him.  “Hey, Charlie, nice to meet you,” he said easily.

Professor Serenity, who was the most cordial person I’ve ever met in my life, actually rolled her eyes.  I felt a tinge of satisfaction.  “You’ll have to excuse Ryan.  He’s spent a lot of time in your realm.”  She gestured towards Shivani.  “And this is….”

“Oh, you don’t have to tell me who this is, Mom,” Ryan said, winking at Shivani.  “I know all about the Warrior girl.  What’s up, fist fighter?”  He smirked at her.  “Has it been a punch-free day?  Is that what’s making you cranky?  No chance to work out all of that aggression.”

Ryan grinned, when Shivani scowled at him.  He walked around her, looking her up and down.  “You know, you’d be hot if you’d smile once in awhile.”  He pointed to her all-black attire.  “And maybe wear something pretty for a change.  With color.”

“That’s it,” Shivani took at step towards him, raising a fist.  I wrapped my arms around her waist and held her back.

Director Fussybottom frowned at Shivani, before turning his attention to Ryan.  His face actually lit up.  “Ryan, my boy, it’s good to see you.”

Ryan’s entire expression changed.  His smile was sincere.  “Robert, it’s good to see you too.”  The two of them actually embraced.

“I should have known,” Shivani muttered.

There was genuine concern on Ryan’s face when he asked, “What brings you to my territory?”

“We’re looking for,” Director Fussybottom hesitated.  He glanced at Professor Serenity.  “Your father.”