Caution: Quills may be sharp Circulation: 196,274,205 Issue: 903 | 5th day of Relaxing, Y22
Home | Archives Articles | Editorial | Short Stories | Comics | New Series | Continued Series

~The Golden Quill~

by mystify


Amy was really diving into her journey of writing fantastic pieces and she felt more and more confident the more she worked on her writing pieces. She knew she would be able to achieve this and make her parents proud.

     She had been working on cliffhangers, coming up with the perfect hooks to end her chapters that kept the reader interested and wanting to continue on. All the best authors use cliffhangers to keep the suspense up and make it so the book can’t be put down. Now that she had read so much about the strategy behind this, she felt confident about putting it into practice. And so she cracked open her next book…Poetry & Prose, hmm, well, I already know how to write. This should be an easy enough lesson. She picked up the book and begin to read.

     The concept behind Poetry & Prose was mostly about writing short poems, and about how to structure them in a way that made them flow easily. This is an important lesson in all writing, it will make your story easy to read and also compelling to read. If you write everything using the most basic words, then you will not really draw the reader in to the story as well. People will get bored, or find it hard to connect. Certain words carry specificity to them, they convey a lot more emotions than just speaking with basic terms. It helps you keep everything short and sweet while also getting your exact message across.

     Along with this, it also teaches you how to make your words all flow together like, well, poetry. A lot of people start out writing and it comes out a little bit clunky, not the way real people would actually speak, and it doesn’t flow in the mind like it should flow off the tongue.

     I guess there is a lot more to poetry than I once thought, and I guess it really can help me in writing longer pieces, Amy continued reading on. She had never contemplated writing poetry before, and decided that this might be a good time to give it a shot. She picked up her pen and decided to practice with a few lines, to see how she could do.

     I watch the faucet as it drips,

     And from my drink I take a sip,

     I feel the soda on my lip,

     I hope the extra sugar doesn’t make my pants rip.

     Okay…uh, well it’s a start.

     And so she read more and more, learning about different rhyme schemes and half-rhymes, about the different ways the poems can be structured. How really, they don’t need to rhyme at all, and how it is more of a flow and more of a feeling. This would prove to be extremely helpful in her writing quest, as it will help her stories move easier.

     Let me try this again, I think I’ve got an idea this time, Amy took her pen to the paper once again.

     With the flowers breezing through the wind,

     Days from the past now forgotten,

     We all start fresh like the petals that are lost,

     And in this new life we shall bare the cost.

     Hmm, it’s a bit better, but there is still something missing there.

     Amy was confident she had the idea now, but the words were failing her. She knew the techniques, and she knew how to utilize them, and she understood the concept behind it completely. However, there was a certain “flavour”, for lack of a better term, missing in her writing. She needed to add some extra umph to her words. That is when she looked over and saw the final book in her stack.

     Describing A Landscape: Making The World Come Alive…that sounds exactly like what I am missing here. Amy picked up the book and began to read through it.

     Describing A Landscape: Making The World Come Alive was all about adding colour to your words and to make them appear in the reader’s mind. It is simple enough to put words on paper and to make someone read them, but you want the person to feel and see exactly what you are trying to convey. Without the right words, the reader won’t fully understand what you want them to, and they won’t be immersed in this alternate reality you are working so hard to craft. This book covers the world-building aspects of writing, and how to inject that realistic emotion into the story to make the reader feel like they are there.

     Amy learned the importance of descriptive words, and how to add extra details before everything. Instead of just saying the protagonist sat in a chair, describe the chair. “The protagonist sat down in a cold, blue chair that had just been brought in from the outside.” A description like this can convey an unwelcoming atmosphere, and show that the protagonist is experiencing a level of discomfort at that moment.

     “The weather outside was dreadful, with raindrops the size of golf balls splashing loudly on the pavement. You could hear the thin panes of glass on the windows rattling with every strong gust of wind.”

     I feel like I’m there when I read that, I feel like I am sitting and experiencing the same storm I am reading about. Amy was getting the point of this.

     Adding extra details beefs up your story by a lot, it will give your readers even more of a reason to invest in the story. It is also important to describe your characters, as it will show a lot more about their personality and their personal lives.

     “The trader from the Lost Desert looked well worn, wearing tattered linens made from Qasalan cotton. He had deep wrinkle lines running down his face and bags sunken low under his eyes, as if he hadn’t slept in days. When his gaze met with the protagonist’s, the protagonist shuttered. It was as though he could see every moment of the trader’s dark past reflecting in his tired brown eyes.”

     Yes!! I feel it, Amy was feeling reinvigorated. She had started to have doubts after reading Poetry & Prose, but this was exactly the lesson she had been seeking. The words need to come alive to the reader. I need to write exactly what I’m seeing in my mind when I’m imagining my stories.

     Amy closed her eyes hard, thinking about every detail her mind’s eye saw. She knew it would be important to use her words like a paint brush and paint an accurate picture of what she was seeing. She gave it a try:

     “The green jelly on the plate looked almost rotten, something Katrina clearly did not want to eat. She tried to hide the disgust on her face so her host, a Blue Acara who had set down the jelly plate with such a prideful smile, would be none the wiser that she didn’t want to eat it. She had to take a bite though, and so grimacing behind her polite smile, Katrina picked up her fork and dug it into the jelly. The prongs of the fork forced the jelly to give way a little bit, before a bite-size chunk broke off. Katrina lifted it to her mouth, and mentally counted to three before tossing it back and swallowing the foul food as fast as she could.”

     Oh, I like that. And Katrina… Amy had just come up with that on the spot, and the name Katrina was starting to resonate with her. I think Katrina is who I should write my first story about!! I don’t know about the gross jelly part though.

     She was proud of what she just came up with, even the jelly part. She thought maybe she could incorporate this into her first story. And so she quickly reviewed all the lessons that she learned, so that she could dive into her first tale and attempt to get it published for the world to see.

     Writing like a pro and knowing exactly why I’m writing and what I’m writing about, Amy was listing the lessons off in her head. A Hero’s Journey, there needs to be suspense and a sense of risk. Something that Katrina could lose. And I can use the hooks I’ve mastered to keep that suspense going throughout the story. And with everything in Poetry & Prose and all that I learned about world-building with words, I can craft a fantastic world for this all to happen. Something the reader will be so quickly absorbed into that they won’t be able to put my story down. And they’ll be waiting with bated breath for all my following writing works!!

     Amy had a fire under her now, and it was time to tackle her first every story and submission. She grabbed her best pen and her brand new notebook that she intended to write the story in, and set to work. We’ll be joining her in the next Neopian Times issue to see what she was able to come up with, and if her piece will get published!

     To be continued…

Search the Neopian Times

Other Episodes

» ~The Golden Quill~
» ~The Golden Quill~
» ~The Golden Quill~

Week 903 Related Links

Other Stories


Blumaroo Baking, part 2
It's never too early...

by molzypoo


The Krawk Island Adventure
Tristan and Litana stammered out mumbled excuses, panickedly glancing at Squire for backup... Also written by ceara52

by therainbowsheep


Real Remedies at the Neohospital Part IV
Another wacky remedy prescribed at the Neohospital collaboration with SPOTSILVER

by andypopo

Submit your stories, articles, and comics using the new submission form.