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.


Random Thoughts On Writing My 1st Novel

I’m scared.  Seriously.  For the last few days, I’ve tried to write.  But I haven’t been able to because of this fear.  You see, I made a 2016 New Year’s Resolution to write a full manuscript by the end of the year and since then, I haven’t been able to write anything.

It sucks.

This may not be a big deal for some of you, but I’ve never finished writing a complete novel.  (Unless you count my jumbled NaNoWriMo mess from a few years ago, which I don’t.)  Writing an entire manuscript is a big deal for me.

You may wonder what I fear.  Cliches.  I’m so scared that my first book will be filled with cliches.  In 2015, I overcame many personal obstacles to writing, but one of them remains strong:  the idea that my story has to be “original.”

What does that even mean?  Has anyone ever written something “original?”  Both Harry Potter and The Hobbit were based on ideas from Norse mythology.  Star Wars was influenced by Akira Kurosawa‘s 1958 film The Hidden Fortress.  Hell, even Star Wars:  The Force Awakens cannibalized itself and based the story on Star Wars:  A New Hope.  (They both had a Death Star, but they were different sizes!)  So, if J.K. Rowling, J.R.R. Tolkien, and George Lucas can do it, then what’s MY problem?

A few things are helping me manage my fear.  First, in my experience, to conquer a fear, a person should run TOWARDS it, instead of AWAY from it.  Well, with the exception of fire.  And cliffs.  And rabid animals.  Hmmm….  Maybe I should phrase this differently.

Let’s try again.  Last year, I started to get over my fear of rejection by embracing it.  Perhaps I should do the same thing with cliches?  Just write a book of cliches.  Maybe it should be called “Charlie Weaver and the Book of Cliches.”

Hey!  Is it a sign that it sounds like “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone?”

What’s that I hear?  I think my wheels are turning again……   😉

Young Adult Fantasy Story Patterns

Patterns.  I love finding them.  Especially in young adult fantasy books.

For the past week, I’ve had a lot of fun writing a story (Charlie Weaver and the Prophecy of Doom) that satirizes all of the popular young adult fantasy books that I’ve read.  I’ve reached an impasse, so I wanted to jot down a few notes regarding the “stereotypical” patterns that I’ve witnessed in these books.  (And naturally, I plan on mocking these “typical” scenes in my story about Charlie Weaver.  Get it?  Harry POTTER, Charlie WEAVER?  A Potter and A Weaver? HAHAHAHA.)

The story patterns are as follows:


  1. Star Wars:  Luke Skywalker is an ORPHAN; he’s treated well, but held back from pursuing his dreams by his uncle.
  2. Harry Potter:  Harry Potter is an ORPHAN; he’s treated horribly by his aunt and uncle
  3. Percy Jackson:  Percy has been labeled as a “troubled” kid; he’s being raised by a single mother and continually kicked out of schools.
  4. Gregor the Overlander:  Gregor’s father disappeared; his mother is struggling to hold things together.


  1. Star Wars:  R2D2/C3PO deliver Leia’s message to Luke Skywalker
  2. Harry Potter:  Hagrid arrives and tells Harry that he’s a wizard
  3. Percy Jackson:  Grover helps get Percy to safety at Camp Half-Blood


  1. Star Wars:  Storm troopers kill Luke’s aunt and uncle
  2. Percy Jackson:  Something evil actually attacks Percy in a museum
  3. Harry Potter:  Voldemort’s ally (Quirrel) try to kill Harry Potter
  4. Gregor:  Rats try to kill all Overlanders


  • Star Wars:  Obi Wan tells Luke that his father was a Jedi
  • Harry Potter:  Hagrid tells Harry that he’s a wizard
  • Percy Jackson:  Percy learns at Camp Half-Blood that he’s a demi-god
  • Gregor the Overlander:  Vikus tells Gregor that he’s the warrior of the prophecy


  1. Luke Skywalker will bring balance to the Force.  (Prophecy!)
  2. Harry Potter’s fate is intertwined with Voldemort’s (Prophecy!!)
  3. Percy Jackson must solve the riddle of the Oracle (PROPHECY!!!)
  4. Gregor is the warrior of the…..wait for it….  PROPHECY!!!!

Do you see what I’m talking about?  Strip away the context of these stories, and you see patterns replayed OVER AND OVER again.


DAY #22 : A Modified “NaNoWriMo” Challenge (Write 15 Minutes of Garbage Every Day)

Earlier today, I read a post on Ana Spoke’s blog called “The Best Way To Predict Your Future.”  It gave me chills, because although she doesn’t outright say it, Ana’s discussion alludes to a concept called “The Law Of Attraction.”

In plain terms, the law of attraction is simply “like attracts like.”  A person’s thoughts influences his or her reality.  If you have positive thoughts, you will attract positive experiences.  I first heard about this concept from a borrowed copy of “The Secret,” but the book was so hokey, that I couldn’t bring myself to actually spend money on it.  However, on some level, I agree with the premise.

Now, before you roll your eyes at me and call me a new age hippie (or worse), you should know that I’m a trained engineer.  I have a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering and a master’s degree in mechanical engineering.  I worked in the automotive industry for over twelve years.  I love data and often clung to it like a lifeline.

But the universe is filled with mysteries.  Things exist that we can’t measure or explain yet.

The first law of thermodynamics is that energy can’t be created or destroyed, only transformed.  I grew up in a Hindu/Buddhist household.  My father taught me one fundamental thing:  thoughts are a form of energy.  So if energy can’t be created or destroyed, then where do our thoughts go once we have them?  Personally, I believe that they are transformed into our reality.

Now, I’m not claiming that I’m a genie who can just think, blink, and make things materialize out of thin air.  (But let me try….  I just won a million dollars.  Wait for it…. Wait for it….  Nothing.  Damn.)  But I do think that our thoughts influence what we experience in life.

Words are powerful.  When we write something down on paper (or computer screen), we are sending our thoughts and feelings out into the universe, which responds accordingly.  I’ve actually experienced this myself quite often during my career.  Just this past weekend, I changed my LinkedIn profile to say “Freelance Writer.”  Two days later, the e-mail from Scary Mommy arrived saying that they wanted to publish my essay.  Coincidence?  Maybe.  But what if it isn’t?

So, just for the hell of it, I’m going to write down my goals in bold writing.  I know these may seem lofty, but I’m of the mindset that if I’m going to do this, I should GO BIG OR GO HOME!!!!

  • I will write an award-winning young adult fantasy series based on Indian mythology.  (Replace Percy Jackson and the Lightening Thief with Shivani Roy and the Demon King of Lanka)
  • I will sell over 1 million copies of my books.
  • I will generate enough income from writing alone to support my family and to start a foundation to help inner city kids get access to a good education.  
  • I will be a New York Times best-selling author before the age of 50 years old.  (I’m 41 years old as I write this note.)  

Okay, Universe.  There’s my request.  I promise to work my ass off to achieve these goals and to have faith that everything I need will fall into place as I need it.

We shall see…..

The Demon and The Deva (Prologue)

Once upon a time, in a world very similar to our own, there was an ancient land called Bharat.  Within Bharat was a small kingdom called Videha.  This is where our story begins.

The ruler of Videha was King Janaka.  Under his long reign, Videha was prosperous.  The people were happy, and life was peaceful.  There was just one problem.  King Janaka was aging and he didn’t have an heir.  For many years, Janaka and his beautiful queen, Sunayana, prayed to the gods for a child.  But the gods remained silent.  No child was born.

One day, a senior advisor in Janaka’s court, named Vyasa, approached the king in the throne room.  “Sire,” Vyasa beseeched him.  “You have heard me talk of the Seers for years.  The time has finally come.  You need their help.”

Janaka’s brow furrowed.  Everyone in Bharat had heard of the Seers.  They were a group of golden-eyed mystics who lived in the kingdom of Mahishūru.  They followed the teachings of an Asura called Mahishasura.  “Demons,” Janaka sputtered at the thought of an Asura setting foot in his kingdom.  “You want me to ask those demon Asuras for help?”

“Janaka, I am your friend,” Vyasa looked him in the eye.  Few others would dare do the same thing.  “We have known each other since childhood.  I will not just sit beside you and feed you idle words in this time of need.”

“I still have time,” Janaka protested, flushing angrily.  He was older, but still one of the most powerful kings in Bharat.

Vyasa raised an eyebrow.  He was accustomed to Janaka’s ego, but the time for soothing injured pride had ended.  “Sire, please allow me to speak honestly,” When Janaka nodded, Vyasa continued.  “Your enemies are mobilizing against you.  They are waiting for the first sign of weakness to pounce on Videha.  You must have an heir and time to train him.  Without one, Videha is in danger.”

“But to ask an Asura for help is outrageous,” Janaka scowled.  His distaste for Asuras was deep-rooted.  Devas and Asuras had been fighting each other for centuries.  It was only in the last two decades that a tentative peace agreement had been forged between the two groups.  But the distrust still lingered.  “There must be another way.”

“My brother, there is no other way,” Vyasa said softly.  It pained him to admit it.  He didn’t want to approach the Asuras for help either.  “I’ve seen it.  This is the only path to an heir.”

“So, who do you propose we call?”  When Vyasa raised an eyebrow, Janaka shook his head.  “He won’t come,” Janaka crossed his arms.  “Even if I ask him to.  There is too much bad blood between our kingdoms.”

“Yes, he will.”  Vyasa smiled.  When his visions were clear, they were never wrong.  “Ask him and he will come.”

One week later, Vyasa’s statement was proven correct.  He rushed into the throne room and found King Janaka conducting his daily meeting with his ministers.  Conversation halted as Vyasa approached the king.

“Sire, he’s here,” Vyasa whispered into the Janaka’s ear.

The king waved his hands, dismissing the ministers.  Once they scurried out of the room, Janaka nodded to two of his guardsmen.

The heavy doors at the opposite end of the room swung open.  An Asura named Mahishasura entered.  He surveyed the room with one sweeping glance as he strode across the marble floor.  Despite his towering height, Mahishasura looked up at the throne from the bottom of the steps.  “Janaka.”

“So, we finally meet,” King Janaka nodded back, and remained seated.  He pointedly lowered his head to look down at the Asura.  It was customary for two royals of equal status to greet each other on level ground.  “I’m told that you are the legendary Mahishasura.”

Mahishasura’s golden eyes eyes narrowed.  He recognized the insult.  “I am.”

“You look more human than I expected,” Janaka remarked casually.  He scanned the Asura from head to toe.  “I’ve heard that you are part water buffalo.  If the stories are true, where are your horns?”

Mahishasura smiled, baring even white teeth.  “Stories don’t always contain truth.”

Vyasa fluttered around Janaka nervously.  He said softly, “Sire, I must remind you that we invited him here.  We need his help.”

“Yes, yes,” Janaka lifted one hand and waved Vyasa away.  The internal struggle was apparent on his face.  After a few moments of silence, he stood up and walked down the steps.  “My advisor has reminded me that you have done us a great favor by appearing in our court.”  He extended his hand.  “Please forgive me.  You have shown us a great honor with your visit.”

Mahishasura raised an eyebrow.  After pausing, he took Janaka’s hand and clasped it in greeting.  “You are forgiven.  Now, what is the purpose of my visit?”

“I have been told that your people have special,” Janaka hesitated.  He searched for the word.  “Abilities.”  When Mahishasura remained silent, Janaka continued.  “I have need of such abilities.”

“Is that so?”  The expression on Mahishasura’s face was mild interest.  “And why is that?”

Janaka grimaced, as if he spotted something distasteful.  He squared his shoulders.  “My advisors tell me that I will never have an heir without your help.”

“I see,” Mahishasura replied evenly.  He didn’t appear surprised by the revelation.  “And if this is true, why should I help you?”

The Asura was trying to bargain with him.  Well, this was something that Janaka could understand.  “What do you want from us in exchange for your help?”  He extended his hand to point out the splendors of the room.  “Gold?  Jewels?  I will pay your fee.”

Mahishasura snorted.  “I am the rightful King of Mahishuru.  It is one of the wealthiest kingdoms in Bharat.  Do you think I could be bought so easily?”

“But you’re not,” Vyasa interjected.  When Mahishasura turned his gaze to Vyasa, the old advisor stammered.  “Your Highness, I mean no disrespect.  But I have been told that you gave up your right to the throne to follow the teachings of the Seers.”

Mahishasura nodded.  “You speak the truth.  I am no longer the King of Mahishuru. But my people still follow my words as law.”

“Then why are you here?” King Janaka demanded.  He didn’t have time to banter with an Asura.  “If not for gold or wealth, why are you here?”

Mahishasura’s brow furrowed.  Why indeed?  “I will help you.  But for a price.”

King Janaka threw up his hands in exasperation.  “What price?  I just offered you all of the gold you could ever want.”

“My price isn’t wealth,” Mahishsura replied.  He glanced over his shoulder and nodded at someone waiting outside the throne room.  “I need your protection.  For him.”

A woman holding the hand of a boy walked up to the group.  The boy was young and handsome.  While the woman kept her eyes cast downward, the boy boldly met the penetrating gaze of Vyasa.  He grinned, showing a flash of even white teeth, before turning his golden eyes to King Janaka.

“Who is this child?”  King Janaka demanded.  There was something about the boy that made him uneasy.

Mahishasura smiled.  He rested his hand on the boy’s thick black hair.  “He is the younger son of the Sage Vishrava.  His name is Ravana.”

DAY #20: A Modified “NaNoWriMo” Challenge (Write 15 Minutes of Garbage Every Day)

Does anyone else have this problem?  Loss of momentum in the middle of writing a story?  It’s Day 20 of this challenge and I’m trying to pick up the story from where I left off yesterday.  I had tons of ideas for the direction I wanted to go when I stopped typing yesterday afternoon, but all of them flew out of my mind…..

Sigh.  Well, let me retype the last paragraph or two from yesterday, and see if I can generate some momentum again.  (NOTE:  I won’t include the retyped portion in my final word count.)

Shivani couldn’t admit defeat so easily.  She needed Patrick by her side for her first trip to Bharat.  “What difference does it make if they do discover you?  They can’t hurt you.”

“No, they can’t hurt me,” Patrick replied, and looked her straight in the eye.  It was time to tell her the truth.  “But they can hurt your parents.”

Shivani started at his words.  “My parents?” she repeated, frowning.  “What does this have to do with my parents?  They’re dead.”

Patrick studied the emotions that flitted across her face.  He had to tell her.  It was the only way she would be ready to face the situation in Bharat.  “What do you know about your parents?”

“Well,” Shivani hesitated.  “Not a lot.  I mean, the people at the agency told me that I was left at an orphanage in India when I was a baby.”

“And?” Patrick tilted his head.  He leaned against the desk and crossed his arms.  “What else did they tell you?”

As Patrick’s gaze narrowed, it occurred to Shivani that she had never questioned the story.  “Not much more than that,” Shivani shrugged.  “Just that an American couple adopted me and brought me to this country.  But they were killed in a car accident when I was little.  No one else wanted to adopt me.  So I went back into the foster care system.”  Shivani studied the floor.  It sounded so much more pathetic when she said it out loud.  She didn’t like that at all.  “I’ve been there ever since then.”

“So, no one knew who left you at the orphanage?” Patrick persisted.  He suspected what her answer would be, but wanted to make sure.

“No,” Shivani whispered.  Was it possible that her parents were still alive?  That they were the ones who left her at the orphanage?  Her heart started beating wildly.

Patrick knew what she was thinking.  He hated to crush her hopes, but she had to know.  “They weren’t the ones who dropped you off at the orphanage,” he said softly.  He winced when he saw the light go out of her eyes.

Shivani’s shoulders slumped.  He was probably right, but that small sliver of hope prompted her to question him.  “How do you know that?  Did you see it?”

Patrick hesitated.  It didn’t take his Seer’s abilities to see that Shivani wasn’t going to respond well to the truth.  What was the best way to approach this revelation?  “I guess you could say that.”

“Oh,” Shivani muttered, disappointed.  Patrick’s visions were always accurate.  “Did you see what happened in a vision?”

“No,” Patrick replied.  “It wasn’t a vision.”  When Shivani looked at him with confusion, he gave up his feeble attempts at tactful disclosure.  “It was me, Shivani,” he stood up and looked into the golden eyes that reminded him so much of someone else he had once loved.  “I’m the one who left you at the orphanage in India.”

DAY #15: A Modified “NaNoWriMo” Challenge (Write 15 Minutes of Garbage Every Day)

Well, I’ve reached the halfway point of this 30-day writing challenge.  It’s been a really great learning experience for me as a writer.  I can’t believe how much writing I’ve done by just setting aside 15 minutes a day.  (I admit that it generally ends up being closer to 45-60 minutes a day.)  I’ve made more progress on my “prequel” in the last 15 days than I have in the past two decades.  It’s very encouraging.  Every little bit of writing counts!

I’ve always had this idea in my head to write the entire story in chronological progression.  But this challenge has helped me to realize that this is the obstacle that has prevented me from completing a full manuscript.

I’ve always admired J.K. Rowling’s method for writing.  She didn’t write a single sentence until she mapped out the entire Harry Potter series in a 900-page outline.    Since I’m an engineer and a planner, I thought her “plan twice-cut once” method was logical.  Rowling wrote an incredibly complex story.  There were no holes in her story premise.  Thanks to her detailed outline, Rowling left no unanswered questions.  How else does a writer achieve such a feat?  Especially a novice writer?

But I’ve discovered over the past 15 days that her writing method doesn’t work for me.  For years, I’ve tried to outline my full story, but grew bored.  Outlining took the fun out of writing for me.  Then, I tried to write the scenes out sequentially and hit one road block after another.  It finally hit me this week.  I should just write the scenes as they appear to me, even it means jumping all over the place in the story.  A simple solution that should have been obvious to me from the very beginning, but wasn’t until now.

Oh, my God……  I just had a disturbing thought.  Does this mean that I’m actually a closet “pantser” after all?  “Pantser,” as in, writing by the “seat of my pants.”  Yikes!  That’s Karma for you.  I’ve become the very type of writer that I always viewed with skepticism.

So, from here on out, I’ll be jumping around from scene to scene.  I’ll continue to use this blog as my “pantsing” site and write without constraint.  But earlier this week, I also started my “true” author’s blog under my name “Taara Datta Donley.”  I will use that site to organize cohesive chapters based on my scattered progress on “A Writing Mama’s Journal.”  This way, my planning side won’t work itself into a tizzy.  At least my left eye has stopped twitching….

DAY #12: A Modified “NaNoWriMo” Challenge (Write 15 Minutes of Garbage Every Day)

Ravana could taste the fear.  His heart pounded as Niku and Rajesh each grabbed one of his arms.  They dragged Ravana kicking and screaming towards the water trough.

“So, demon boy?  Can you do it?”  Niku snarled, as Rajesh pushed Ravana to his knees on the ground and held him there.  Niku grabbed the back of Ravana’s hair and pulled his head back.  “Can you breathe under water?”

Rajesh chuckled.  It was all in good fun.  He would pull the younger boy up after a few minutes.  No one would really get hurt.  “He’ll learn fast if he can’t.”

Ravana took one last gulp of air before Niku pushed his head into the trough.  The cold water hit him like a wall.  He kept his mouth tightly sealed while struggling against Niku’s grip.  Was Niku really going to kill him?  Panic set in until an image of Master Mahish entered his thoughts.  The Master always told him not to waste critical energy on fear.  After what seemed like an eternity, Ravana closed his eyes and exhaled the breathe that he had been clinging to like a lifeline.  When he stopped struggling, his body went limp.

Ravana could hear the panic in Rajesh’s voice.  “He isn’t moving, Niku.  Pull him up.”

As Niku lifted Ravana’s head out of the water, a surge of energy propelled Ravana to snap his head backwards.  He hit Niku squarely in the face.  There was a loud crunch.

“Aaaarrrrgggghhh,” Niku screamed, releasing his grip from Ravana to reach for his nose.  Blood dripped through his fingers, down his face.  Without thinking, Ravana dropped to the ground.  He stuck his leg out and swept it around, knocking Niku down.  Ravana quickly scrambled on top of Niku’s chest.  He grabbed Niku’s head by the hair and slammed it into the ground until Niku’s eyes rolled backwards.

Rajesh stared in shock, as Ravana wiped dripping water from his eyes with the dry edge of his sleeve and ran over to Sukha, who was still lying motionless on the ground.

“Don’t just stand there,” Ravana yelled at Rajesh, as he placed his fingers on Sukha’s temples.  “Check on Niku.”

Ravana’s voice snapped Rajesh into action.  He moved quickly and knelt on the ground beside Niku, but then looked helplessly at Ravana.  “What do I do?”

The answer came to Ravana without any thought.  “Clear the blood from his face.  Make sure that he’s still breathing.”

Rajesh nodded and used his sleeve to wipe the blood from Niku’s face.  Ravana closed his eyes and slowed his breathing.  Sukha still hadn’t regained consciousness.  Ravana focused his energy on finding the injury.  When he found the ruptured vessel, warmth seeped from his finger tips.  Ravana could feel himself losing strength, but he maintained his physical contact with Sukha.  When Sukha coughed, Ravana dropped his hands, exhausted.  He collapsed on the ground, breathing heavily.

“What happened?”  Sukha mumbled, as he tried to sit up.  He rubbed his temples and twisted his head.

DAY #11: A Modified “NaNoWriMo” Challenge (Write 15 Minutes of Garbage Every Day)

Ravana could hear the cries coming from the garden.  When he approached a clearing, Ravana saw two larger boys standing on the roof of a small shed.  They were holding a smaller boy upside down by the ankles over the edge of the roof.  Below the small boy, on the side of the shed, was a water trough.

“Where is our money, Sukha?”  One of the boys on the roof was wearing a red shirt.  He snarled and shook the small boy’s leg.  “You were supposed to give it to us today.”

“I don’t have it for you yet,” the smaller boy, Sukha, sobbed.  “Please, Niku.  Get me up from here.  If you give me more time, I’ll get it for you.”

“What do you think about that, Rajesh?  Should we give him more time?”  Niku’s lip curled into a smirk.  Both boys laughed and lowered Sukha closer to the water.  “Or should we find out if he can breathe underwater?”

Ravana could feel the young boy’s fear.  It wasn’t just getting wet.  He’s terrified by water, he realized.  Master Mahish had told him that he could amuse himself in the palace gardens until the evening meal, as long as he stayed out of trouble.  Interrupting a fight wasn’t what the Master had intended.

But Sukha’s fear was palpable.  Without thinking, Ravana squared his shoulders and ran towards the shed.  “Stop that,” he shouted.  “Leave him alone.”

The two large boys started.  After a moment, they pulled Sukha up onto the roof with them.  Then, after flashing a smirk at Ravana, Niku pushed the smaller boy from the roof.  Ravana watched in shock as Sukha landed on the ground with a loud thud.  The two larger boys jumped off from the roof and landed on their feet.  Sukha remained motionless.

Ravana rushed towards Sukha.  The boy still hadn’t moved.  Ravana knelt on the ground and placed his fingers on the boy’s temple.  Warmth seeped from his fingers into the boy’s skull.  “He needs help,” Ravana said, trying to recall his lessons.  It was the first time that he had tried to heal anybody without guidance.  Ravana closed his eyes and focused on the blood flow.

“Well, well, what do we have here?” Niku smirked.  Rajesh picked up Ravana and slammed him against the wall of the shed.  Both of them scanned Ravana up and down before resting their gaze on Ravana’s face.  Surprised, Niku nudged his friend.  “Rajesh, look at his eyes.  They’re yellow.”

Rajesh’s brown eyes widened.  “It’s the demon boy.”  He dropped his hands from Ravana and stepped back from the shed.  When Ravana tried to walk away, Niku pushed him against the shed, placing an arm across Ravana’s chest.  When Ravana struggled, Niku leaned on him with his full weight.

Rajesh put a hand on Niku’s shoulder.  “Let him go, Niku.  Asuras have special powers.  We haven’t been taught how to fight them yet.”

Niku snorted.  “I’m the son of one of the greatest warriors in Bharat.  Do you think this boy scares me?”  When Rajesh remained silent, Nicu looked at him scornfully.  “Are you afraid, Rajesh?  There’s nothing to be afraid of.  I’ve always wanted to see if the demons were as powerful as the stories.”  An odd look came on Niku’s face as he studied the water trough.  “Now we can find out.  Let’s see if this demon can breathe underwater.”

DAY #10: A Modified “NaNoWriMo” Challenge (Write 15 Minutes of Garbage Every Day)

It’s Day 10 of my self-imposed 30-day writing challenge.  So far, I’ve spent Day 3 through Day 8 writing a story.  That’s 6 out of 10 days actually storytelling.  Since my plan was to just write whatever random thought appeared in my head every day, this is a pleasant surprise.

I’m growing more interested in this story, so I thought that I would jot down a few notes for myself.  I hope that it will facilitate my storytelling in the upcoming week.

Working Title:  I was using “Ravana’s Daughter” at first, but now, I’m not sure if this title applies…..  I’ll keep it as a place holder until I think of something better.

Story Location:  The basis of this story is an epic tale from India called the Ramayana.  Rama is from an ancient land in India that is still called Ayodhya today.   India used to be called Bharat.  This story takes place in another realm that has an ancient land called Bharat.  The land of Bharat consists of many smaller kingdoms, the first of which is called Videha.  King Janak and Queen Sunayna are the rulers of Videha.  I have an idea how I want to handle their world’s similarity to our own……

In Chapter 1, I’ve already visualized characters knocking each other off for the throne and/or to preserve alliances. (Can anyone say Game of Thrones?).  I’m trying to stay as true to Indian mythology as I can, but the characters are starting to take control of the story.  So, the names are fairly accurate, but I’ve completely departed from what I expected their characters to be.

Characters:  This is what I have so far.  I expect the list to grow longer this week.

  • Janaka – The King of Videha
  • Vyasa – An Royal Advisor to King Janaka; also a childhood friend
  • Sunayna – The Queen of Videha
  • Sage Mahishasura (Mahish) – The (former) King of Mahishuru
  • Pulastya – The King of Lanka
  • Sage Vishrava – (Former) Prince of Lanka; Pulstya’s eldest son
  • Kaikesi – Vishrava’s second wife; Daitya Princess
  • Sumali – Kaikesi’s father; Ravana’s maternal grandfather
  • Kubera – Prince of Lanka; Pulstya’s youngest son; Heir to throne?
  • Ravana – Prince of Lanka; Vishrava’s eldest son; Heir to throne?
  • Maya – Queen Sunayna’s personal maid/servant

THE DEVAS (“Demi-Gods”):

  • Janaka – The King of Videha
  • Vyasa – An Royal Advisor to King Janaka; also a childhood friend
  • Sunayna – The Queen of Videha
  • Pulastya – The King of Lanka
  • Sage Vishrava – (Former) Prince of Lanka; Pulstya’s eldest son
  • Kubera – Prince of Lanka; Pulstya’s youngest son; Heir to throne?
  • Ravana – Prince of Lanka; Vishrava’s eldest son; Heir to throne? (1/2 Asura, 1/2 Deva)

THE ASURAS (“Demons”)

  • Mahishasura (Mahish) – The (former) King of Mahishuru
  • Kaikesi – Vishrava’s second wife; Daitya Princess; Ravana’s mother
  • Sumali – Kaikesi’s father; Ravana’s maternal grandfather
  • Ravana – Prince of Lanka; Vishrava’s eldest son; Heir to throne?


Who controls Lanka?  I remember reading about Ravana seizing control of Lanka from Kubera in the Ramayana.  I wanted to preserve this part of the story because I think disputes between royal brothers over thrones are interesting.  However, the question that I make take liberties with answering is how did Kubera get control of Lanka in the first place?

I made him a Prince of Lanka to keep things simple because I have two sets of conflicting information on him.  His relationship to Ravana is different in the Ramayana versus the Mahabharata.  In the Ramayana, Kubera is Ravana’s half-brother.  In another story (Mahabharata), Kubera is Ravana’s uncle.  I started by following the Ramayana and maintaining Kubera’s status as Ravana’s older half-brother.  But I thought that gave Kubera a stronger claim to the throne of Lanka.  I want more conflict regarding ascension rights to the Lanka throne.  So I thought that following the Mahabharata on this part of the story would be more interesting.  I’m not sure what direction this will go, so I reserve the right to change this direction if I need to!

Whew!  That’s a lot to keep track of and I’m just getting started…..  I may have to make a map and a family tree to keep all of this straight in my head.  Please wish me luck!