#WQWWC Writers Quote Wednesday Writing Challenge – Magic

It’s time for another round of Silver Threading and Ronovan Writes‘s Writers Quote Wednesday Writing Challenge! I had so much fun with the romance prompt a couple of weeks ago that I decided to participate again! Here goes nothing!

Writers-Quote-Wednesday-Writing-Challenge

The theme posted last week is one of my favorite creative writing topics: magic! The quote I chose for this challenge is by one of my favorite authors from my childhood, Roald Dahl:

Roald-Dahl-Magic-Quote

And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it. – Roald Dahl

This quote comes from Dahl’s last children’s story, The Minpins. In fact, these are the very last lines of his last story, making this quote a final message to his young readers before he passed on. Beautifully said, Mr. Dahl! And now here’s a short story I wrote inspired by this lovely quote. Enjoy!

Believe

Abby watched from behind a tree, waiting quietly with a piece of string clutched tightly in her hand. She had laid candies and chocolates under the box a few feet ahead; surely something would be hungry enough to come along and eat them soon.

She was right; within ten minutes, a few little balls of light appeared from behind another tree across the clearing. Abby watched as they slowly floated over to the box, and the moment they landed on the sweets, she pulled the string. A stick attached to its other end dislodged from under one side of the box, dropping it and trapping the figures inside.

“Gotcha!”

The eight-year-old grabbed a large glass jar sitting beside her and ran over to the box. A minute later, the jar contained a handful of small chocolates and three colorful glowing fairies. Abby smiled at the tiny creatures inside, who were too busy nibbling away at the sweets to even notice they had been captured.

“Don’t worry,” she whispered as if they were listening to her. “I promise I’ll let you go tomorrow.”

And she hurried away through her backyard into her house to punch some holes in the lid. She could hardly wait for tomorrow.

The next morning, Abby took the jar to school for Show and Tell. She was so excited for her classmates to see what she had caught that she couldn’t stop fidgeting in her seat. When it was finally her turn, she pulled the jar out of her backpack and hurried to the front of the room to proudly display it to the class. To her surprise, however, they simply stared at her in confusion.

“What’s so special about a jar of chocolates?” said a boy in the front row.

“It’s not the chocolates,” said Abby, amazed that anyone would ask such a silly question. “It’s what’s eating the chocolates!”

The other children looked closer, but they merely giggled in amusement.

“There’s nothing eating the chocolates!” a girl in the back exclaimed.

“Yes, there is! Look! Don’t you see the fairies?”

“Fairies?!” At this, all the other children burst out laughing. “There’s no such thing as fairies!”

“Ya-huh, they’re right here!” Abby held the jar up for the whole class to see, but the tiny glowing figures only seemed to be visible to her. All the other students began pointing at her and jeering.

“Abby believes in fairies!” they shouted. “What a dummy!”

The teacher tried to calm the class while Abby hugged the jar close, bowing her head to hide her watering eyes. She spent the rest of the school day sitting quietly in the corner of the room, and she went home that afternoon in tears.

That evening, Abby sat crying on her back porch, the fairies eating a fresh helping of candies in the jar beside her. She was so lost in thought over the day’s events that she didn’t realize a man had stepped out the back door onto the porch until he spoke.

“Abby, sweetheart, what’s wrong?”

Startled, Abby looked up to see her father standing to her right. Suddenly embarrassed, the girl wiped the tears from her eyes before she answered.

“Nothing, Daddy.”

“Are you sure?” His daughter looked away as he sat down beside her. It was then that he caught sight of the jar sitting between them. “Could it have anything to do with these fairies?”

Abby snapped her head up, her eyes wide with shock. Her father smiled.

“Your friends can’t see them either, huh?”

The girl hesitated, then shook her head. The next thing she knew, she was sharing all the events of the past 24 hours, from catching the fairies to trying to show them to her class to crying on the way home after being teased. She then listened as her father told his childhood story about the time he had found a gnome in his mother’s garden and tried to show it to the neighbor kids, only to be made fun of for having an “imaginary friend”.

“They laughed at me for weeks”, he said with a shrug, “but I knew what I saw. That gnome was no more imaginary than these fairies.”

He lifted the jar and unscrewed the lid. Abby reached out her hand and her dad tilted the jar to let one of the glowing creatures tumble out into her palm. It was still nibbling on part of a chocolate coin. Father and daughter laughed as the former reached into the container and extracted a lollipop from which the other two fairies were dangling.

“Daddy”, said the eight-year-old as she stared curiously at the creature in her hand, “why can’t the other kids see them?”

Abby’s father set the fairies down on the porch, then split the lollipop in half and offered a piece to each of them. He thought seriously for a moment before turning back to his daughter and smiling again.

“Because they aren’t looking for them.”

Abby faced her dad once more as he scooped the fairies up from the porch. She was too amazed to speak, instead sitting in stunned silence while they both watched the tiny creatures munching away on the sweets in their hands.

“Don’t ever change, princess,” he said after a minute. “This is my greatest advice to you. Keep on believing in magic. Always look for the beauty in the world. And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you, because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places.”

Father and daughter grinned at each other, then simultaneously lifted their hands to let the fairies fly away into the forest behind their house. Abby huddled close to her father when he put his arm around her, and as the two of them watched the little balls of light disappear into the night, he whispered with a smile…

“Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.”

I hope you enjoyed my story! Be sure to join the Writers Quote Wednesday Writing Challenge and share your quote-inspired works! Thanks for reading!

Writers Quote Wednesday Writing Challenge is a weekly blogging event by Colleen Chesebro of Silver Threading in collaboration with Ronovan Hester of Ronovan Writes. Be sure to check out both these authors’ blogs for your weekly dose of inspiration! Happy writing!

Word of the Week: Thespian

Word: thespian

Pronunciation: THES-pee-ən

Part of Speech: adjective; noun

Definition:

  1. (adj.) of or relating to drama and the theater
  2. (n.) an actor or actress

Source: Oxford Dictionaries


Rango: [disguised as a woman] Good sir! Gracious good afternoon to thee and thee and thee! May I present, Madam Lupone’s Terpsichorean Troupe of Traveling Thespians!

Balthazar: What is that?

Ezekiel: I think they’s thespians!

Balthazar: Thespians? That’s illegal in seven states!

Rango (2011)

Okay, I admit I may have laughed a little too hard at this line when I first watched Rango a few years ago, but that may just be because I wasn’t expecting such a subtle adult joke to be slipped into what’s supposed to be a children’s movie. But then again, I should hardly have been surprised, since by then the film had already pushed the PG rating to the limit several times over. In this scene, Rango and his posse attempt to ambush the Inbred Rodents (yes, really) by posing as a theater troupe and putting on a show for them. The blind patriarch wonders aloud what’s going on, only to hilariously misunderstand his son’s answer. Sounds like he was expecting something entirely different from a group of “thespians”!

Anything described as “thespian” relates to the theatrical arts, while a “thespian” is an actor or actress. The word arose in the late 17th century and derives from the Greek name Thespis. This was the name of a Greek dramatic poet from the 6th century BC who is considered the founder of Greek tragedy.

According to Ancient Greek sources, including Aristotle, Thespis was the original actor, the first person to ever play a character on stage. It makes sense, therefore, that a word meaning “actor” would derive from his name. It may be worth noting that Oxford Dictionaries classify the word “thespian” as “formal humorous”, which may limit its use to more comedic contexts, though I suppose that call is left to the writer’s discretion. If your stories are full of actors and actresses, “thespian” would certainly make a great addition to your vocabulary!

What are your thoughts on this word? Any suggestions for future “Word of the Week” featured words?

Holy Day

Holy day it is to
All people of good faith.
Praise be to the Lord, for whose
People He sacrificed His Son.
Your love is great, Father!

Evangelical teachings tell of the
Agony suffered for our sins by the
Son of God, yet on the
Third day, He lived again!
Everyone, rejoice!
Risen is the Lord!


Happy Easter to all my family, friends, and readers who are celebrating! May you all have a blessed weekend!

7 Ways I Find Writers’ Blogs

Writers are everywhere, and with the advantages of the Internet and blogging, it’s never been easier for us all to connect with one another. Blogging is a great way for writers to put themselves out there and gain some kind of footing for their work, but it can seem rather daunting to find ways of reaching potential readers in the vast ocean that is the blogosphere. In fact, this is an art I’m still trying to master myself, and for that I can’t say much on this subject from the perspective of a writer. I can, however, speak as a reader and share how I found over 200 writers’ blogs to follow.

So for those of you constantly seeking inspiration and new friends in the blogosphere, here are the top seven ways that I find writers online. I hope you’ll find these useful too! Enjoy!

1) “Creative Writing” tag in WordPress Reader

WordPress Logo BlueWordPress is the ultimate blogging platform, no contest. With high design flexibility and an integrated blogging network, it’s an excellent choice for writers to start building an online presence, whether it’s free on WordPress.com or self-hosted with WordPress.org. Because my site is connected to WordPress.com through Jetpack, I found it easiest to start searching for other writers through the WordPress Reader. There are several tags through which to find writers’ posts, of course, but already a general search for “creative writing” tends to return plenty of interesting results. There’s always something new to find in the Reader, so checking back regularly definitely helps to expand a followed blogs list!

2) Twitter

Twitter Logo BlueAfter setting up a blog, the next step for a writer is to create social media profiles. An online network is indispensable for an artist hoping to get their work noticed, and of all the networks I use regularly, Twitter has proven to be a goldmine of writers’ profiles. Author posts and retweets, book promotions, contest invitations, anything writing-related can be found on Twitter, and many of the connections I’ve made on WordPress actually started there. Using hashtags and regularly retweeting other writers have proven to greatly increase one’s following; I’ve found many writers on this network thanks to their mastery of these practices, so if you’re new to Twitter, you’d be wise to try taking them up too!

3) Writing communities

While I’m not nearly as active in writing communities as I should be, I added this item to my list because some of the few writers I have met through communities are among the writers I’ve connected with the most. The contests and events on Writer’s Carnival (which I found through Twitter) have been a great way to meet and befriend other writers, especially since the community strongly encourages its members to review each other’s work. Among so many other artists sharing the same interests, goals, and fears as you, a writing community is a great place to find new friends!

Writers Carnival Logo

4) Blogrolls

Want to make sure your blog is connected to the rest of the blogosphere? Use links! WordPress.com blogs come with blogroll widgets that display Gravatars of followers and followed blogs, and I’ve found many new blogs through these links. Self-hosted WordPress bloggers can find alternative widgets in the plugin directory for sharing blogs they like, and other blogging platforms also offer easy ways to showcase links to favorite sites in the sidebar. Blogrolls are handy tools for writers: not only does sharing links throughout your site drastically increase your connection to the blogosphere, but it encourages other bloggers to return the favor, earning you plenty of exposure for a simple kind gesture!

5) Blogging events/writer link-ups

If you’ve been reading my blog for a long time, you may remember that I used to participate in a monthly blogging event called Writers Reveal. This was a blog-swap event where we would send each other topics by email and all share our posts around the same time. It was a good way to connect with and promote other writers, since we always shared links to each other’s blogs at the end of our posts. I’ve met quite a few interesting writers through this event, and even more just by following links in posts for other blogging circles. Participating in blogging events is a great way to make new friends, plus it’s loads of fun!

Writers-Quote-Wednesday-Writing-Challenge

The most recent blogging event I’ve joined: Writers Quote Wednesday Writing Challenge, by Silver Threading and Ronovan Writes

6) Guest posts

Speaking of connecting with other writers, guest posts are another useful method of forming links between blogs. I’ve found plenty of new writer blogs to follow through links in guest posts, blogs that I might not have found any other way. Similar to blogging events, guest post exchanges strengthen connections between bloggers via links to one another’s sites, helping each writer expand their reach to the other’s audience and introducing all readers to new and interesting content. Win-win-win!

7) Chris the Story Reading Ape (i.e. Reblogs)

The-Story-Reading-ApeI single out Chris the Story Reading Ape here because he’s pretty much the king of this practice in the creative writing domain, but there are several writers I follow on WordPress who make a habit of reblogging each other’s posts. Chris‘s blog is a goldmine of writing articles and resources, all in the form of reblogs from other writers’ sites. WordPress reblogs always include a link to the original post, so I’ve come across tons of new blogs to follow just by browsing through his archive. WordPress writers, take note: reblogs are a valuable tool for sharing your favorite content and helping writers you like expand their network. The blogosphere grows on a you-scratch-my-back-I-scratch-yours principle; reblogging each other’s posts helps all us writers better connect with one another and expand our voices in the world!

How do you find other writers online? What are the best ways you’ve found to attract followers to your blog?

Word of the Week: Hubris

Word: hubris

Pronunciation: (H)YOO-brəs

Part of Speech: noun

Definition: excessive pride or self-confidence

Source: Oxford Dictionaries


Amy: [while judging her friends’ sandcastle contest] It’s so hard to choose a winner.

Sonic: It probably doesn’t matter, Amy.

Amy: Because the beach is the hourglass of nature, and time will wipe clean what we and our hubris have built as everlasting?

Sonic: No, because of the ginormous storm that’s about to hit.

Sonic Boom (Season 1, Episode 50 – Cabin Fever)

That’s right, I somehow pulled another vocabulary word out of a Sonic the Hedgehog cartoon! I’m sure there are a dozen other context examples of “hubris” that I could have used instead, but I chose this one for being the funniest. Plus I’m a dork. Anyway…

In the above scene, Amy is judging her friends’ sandcastle contest when Sonic notes that there’s no point in choosing a winner now. Amy then attempts a poetic comment on nature’s power to diminish people’s self-importance, which falls flat when Sonic simply attributes the contest’s futility to the storm clouds that literally just appeared out of nowhere. Though if you think about it, isn’t Sonic basically confirming Amy’s critique of “hubris” in a more immediate and comical light?

A person’s “hubris” is their extreme pride or confidence in themselves. The word dates back as far as Ancient Greek, when it was used in the sense “insolence” or “outrage”. In its ancient context, this noun typically referred to excessive and violent behavior as opposed to an attitude.

Another ancient use of the word “hubris” is as a Greek tragedy term meaning “excessive pride toward or defiance of the gods, leading to nemesis”. In Ancient Greece, it referred to actions that were deliberately humiliating and shameful to the victim (to a degree too gruesome to be explained in this family-friendly post). Today, the word “hubris” simply denotes overconfidence, and in many contexts tends to border on narcissism. If you write characters who are exaggeratedly proud or full of themselves, you may find yourself having to accommodate some “hubris” in your stories!

What are your thoughts on this word? Any suggestions for future “Word of the Week” featured words?

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