The Secret to a Good Sidekick

It’s time to head on over to AlmostAnAuthor to check out my latest blog post in the fantasy/sci-fi arena. This month we discuss sidekicks–why you need one and the role they can play within your story. My sincerest apologies to Jar-Jar Binks–(It’s not you, it’s me. Promise.)–but the truth had to come out. We all desperately want a Samwise. (In fact, I’ve long suspected that it’s ingrained in our human psyche to continue to search for a pal like Sam until our dying day. But that’s for another post…) Anywho, don’t miss out on some of the other great posts on the A3 website while you’re there!!

Happy writing, friends!

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Photo credit Unsplash by NASA

Flash Fiction Friday: The Sock Monster

“The Sock Monster was at it again.” Susan placed a pile of folded laundry on her son’s twin bed, a set of mismatched socks right on top.

“He’s been hungry, lately,” Kyle said. The seven year-old sat crossed legged on his bed, a comic book before him. “Can we get more?”

Susan bent to put some t-shirts in the dresser. “Get more what, hon?”

“Socks. For The Sock Monster.”

“We’re not buying more socks for a fictional character, Kyle.”

“But he’s not fix-chinal—”

“Fictional.”

“Yeah, whatever. He’s not, mom. Mr. Socks is real.”

“Mr. Socks?” Susan hung a pair of jeans in the closet.

“Yep. It’s what I named him. ‘Cause he’s not a monster, he’s—”

“Okay, okay. I get it. You’ve had your fun. Now get ready. We need to hit the store.”

“But what about Mr. Socks? We need to get more socks so—”

“Feed him the leftovers.” She dangled the two mismatched socks in front of Kyle with a smile.

“He doesn’t like eating the same thing every day. It’s boring—”

She headed toward the door. “No socks for something that’s not real.” Then, “Get those shoes on. I mean it.”

Kyle frowned as his mom left. He picked up the odd socks and shuffled to the laundry room. His shoulders slumped as he yanked the dryer door open and tossed them in before shutting it again.

“Sorry, Mr. Socks. This is all I’ve got for you.”

The dryer jerked, then it lunged, then it went still. Kyle opened the door to the dryer. It was empty.

He smiled. At least Mr. Socks wouldn’t go hungry, even if leftovers weren’t his favorite. Then Kyle ran to get his shoes on.

 

©Laura L. Zimmerman 2017

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Guest Blog Post: Five Courses of the Rough Draft

Hey guys! I’m on the road again, back in Delaware and ready to head into Pennsylvania, as well. (I know! I just can’t stay put! *wink*)

Today I have the privilege of Guest Posting on fellow writer Kellie M Parker‘s blog! Check out my post “Five Courses of the Rough Draft” and stick around to see what other fun things Kellie has to say about her writing journey!

Hope you all had a good Memorial Day! Happy writing, friends!

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Photo credit Unsplash by Annie Spratt

Flash Fiction Friday: Outsider

Rain pelted the window, the one that separated frigid black night from the warmth of the brightly-lit room.

She was in there. Pandora. The female of his dreams.

Rocky sighed and shook rain from his head once more, even though it did no good.

Why had she left him? How could she have jumped at the first chance she got for safety and a hot meal with that man? Rocky could’ve provided. If she’d just given him more time.

A crack of thunder made Rocky wince but he refused to leave. He’d stay there all night, if he had to. To be sure Pandora was truly safe, that that man wouldn’t take advantage of her kindness.

Through the pane of glass he could see her, comfy in her spot on the sofa. Flames flickered from the fireplace across the room. She closed her eyes, a serene look on her face that said it all. Pandora was happy where she was. Happy without Rocky.

Pain pierced his heart. She genuinely loved her knew home. Even if it was with him.

Lightning flashed, illuminated the back alley in which Rocky stood. Bang! A shout echoed between the dirty brick buildings, made Rocky jump. Footsteps sounded, just around the corner. He couldn’t stick around much longer.

With one last gaze upon the only love of his life, Rocky hissed, then hopped down from the lid of the trashcan and skittered away beneath a pile of crumpled boxes.

The man walked into the room and gave Pandora a smile. She purred back. He picked her up and settled her on his lap, content to love on his new-found pet.

 

©Laura L. Zimmerman 2017

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Photo Credit Unsplash Riley Briggs

Where You Can Find Me, and Other News.

Hey guys! I’m still alive after NaNo! Isn’t that great news?! Yay! *Cartwheel and flip*

Actually, I really am alive and still kicking. Sorry to slack on my FF post this past Friday. I had the story and everything (Still do. Inside my head, of course.) but the weekend arrived early so alas, you will have to wait another few days to read my story.

BUT until then, you can find a couple things I’ve written for other websites! Head on over to AlmostAnAuthor for my Fantasy/Sci-Fi article on magical objects (here), and swing by the ACFW PA blog to read my thoughts on my purpose in writing (here).

Okay, now on to other news! *Jig and a hop* Sooo, I can’t give specifics just yet–because, honestly, I don’t have any!!–BUT I can tell you that there might be something exciting on the horizon! There is some interest in my writing from an outside party, and while that gives you absolutely zero to go on, just know that it means I could have some of my writing available soon! Yippee! We shall see if all the pieces fall into place. Until that time, would you please pray with me? It’s always been my heart to write quality literature for young people and I’d love to see it available in print someday!

I promise to update whatever I can, when I can, but again, I don’t even know for sure what this all means, so I’m just taking things one day at a time. Catch me Friday for the latest FF, and maybe I’ll find something else fun to write about before then! *Wink, wink*

Happy reading, friends!

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Photo credit Unsplash NASA

NaNoWriMo 2016: The End

Just wow!! I can’t believe NaNoWriMo 2016 is finished! And did I mention I WON?! How did everyone do? Did you meet your goal? Are you still alive??

Here are my final stats for the month:

Total Words Written: 54,086 (According to the NaNo site. Somehow when I verified my words with NaNo I lost 200+ words that Word says I had??)

Number of Chapters Written: 43

Well, I survived my very first ‘official’ National Novel Writing Month! It was intense and there were days I doubted I would be able to keep up the pace, but I can look back and say it was definitely worth it! NaNoWriMo was great incentive to get my next manuscript going and I’m excited to get it finished up so I can share it with all of you!!

What about you? Did you meet your word count for the month? How was your experience with National Novel Writing Month? Will you do it again? Please comment below! I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Happy writing, friends!

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NaNoWriMo Wrap-Up: Week #4

Week #4 of NaNoWriMo–Aaannnddd I’m done!

I WON NANOWRIMO! Woo Hoo! 

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Here are my stats and what I hope to accomplish next week! (Even though I don’t have to!)

Words Written This Week: 9,943

Total Words Written During NaNo: 51,070

Total Number of Chapters Written: 42

Word Goal for Next Week: 4,000

So close, guys! Just a few more days and we’ll be done! Since I’ve already won NaNo, I set my goal low for the last 4 days–just 1000 words per day! Still motivation!

How did you do this week? Do you think you’ll make it? Comment below!

Happy writing, friends!

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Flash Fiction Friday: Lights Out

Thunder slammed against the side of the house, made the knees of the structure’s foundation tremble. The lights grew weak, blinked in confusion, before they remembered their purpose. Tyler swallowed, the throng of hornets that sat in his belly content to stay put a while longer.

At least the power was still on.

Everything about this hurricane had surprised his little town. From the fact that it decided to slide further inland than forecasters originally thought, to the bad luck that his parents had gotten caught at his grandmother’s house. His armpits bled sweat as he thought of just how alone he really was.

A tremble skittered through the veins that held his heart together, the ones that made sure he was still alive. For now.

How much longer could this thing last?

He caressed the keyboard of his laptop, yanked it from the slumber it so earnestly insisted took priority. Not anymore. Tyler may’ve been only thirteen–might be wishing with all his heart that he wasn’t alone while the world crumbled apart at his feet–but at least he still had connection to the rest of mankind. A little social media was just what the doctor ordered.

The forbidden Twitter account that his parents didn’t know about popped up, loaded with pictures of waves that attacked shores and underwater graveyards for cars and all the worst parts of nightmares people chose to ignore but never really thought would happen to them.

Ding. His cell phone chimed for the first time since he’d talked to his parents.

Crazy weather outside, eh?

Tyler narrowed his eyes at the tiny screen. Unknown.

Could it be a wrong number?

How are things, Tyler? Doing okay without mom and dad?

He jumped to his feet, grabbed the offending object that dared force his blood to pump harder than it already did.

Who was this? And how did he know about—

Relax. I’m sure they’re fine. Sit back, enjoy the storm.

Every part of Tyler’s body shook, his grip on the phone now white knuckled, painful. He couldn’t rip his eyes from that screen. From those words that held too much knowledge, that made every hair on the back of his neck stand at attention and threaten to go AWOL.

Sit, Tyler. You’ll feel better.

A blink. A breath.

A thousand breaths.

Then, Who are you? How do you know these things?

A million and one seconds passed, his eyes glued to that screen. That stupid, stupid screen with all the answers he didn’t want to know.

The bubble with three dots appeared, an answer two seconds, five seconds, ten seconds away. He held all the air he could muster inside his pathetic little lungs.

Because, Tyler. I’m right behind you.

A crash of thunder and the lights went out.

 

©Laura L. Zimmerman

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Photo Credit Unsplash Brandon Morgan

NaNoWriMo Wrap-Up: Week #3

Week #3 of NaNoWriMo is over! *cartwheel, backflip* Yippee!! Here are my stats and what I hope to accomplish next week!

Words Written This Week: 11,204

Total Words Written During NaNo: 41,348

Total Number of Chapters Written: 36

Word Goal for Next Week: 10,000

How did it go? Are you ahead of your word count? What did you learn this week about your characters and the direction of your plot? Comment below!

Happy writing, friends!

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Flash Fiction Friday: Flames

Flames burn around me, as they lick the bookshelves, taste the walls, swallow every inch of library. I tilt my head against the wood floor but only see obsidian, floating bits of a hue that is nothing, that is everything. My lungs scream but I find no comfort for them. Oxygen has become my greatest traitor. I cough and roll onto my side.

It had been near closing time, not many people remained in the library. No alarms rang, not a single sound of warning. Everyone on the ground floor had made it out just fine, had little suspected I was trapped upstairs. Alone. Suffocating.

I push beneath me but my arms shiver, shake, give out. It’s no use. There is zero energy left inside this shell of a body.

Then, a figure, a child, walks toward me. The inane thought that she shouldn’t be out so late on a school night fills my head before my chest cracks what could be a laugh. School doesn’t care if you live or if you die.

Covered in soot, yet unnaturally calm, she reaches down to take my hand. I open my mouth to urge her, to yell that she must run, she must get out while she can still walk! But her eyes implore, beg me to comply with her feeble attempt at saving my broken and battered cocoon.

My hand trembles, then relaxes in her grip. Like melted chocolate and s’mores around a campfire. Campfire. Fire.

Fire.

Get out! I want to yell at her but she insists, tugs, pulls against my resistance.

“Can’t—breathe—” A hollow scratch from my throat. Can she even hear me?

She bends down, places one hand on my chest. Smiles.

A heavenly blessed rush of oxygen consumes my lungs. The spots in my vision fade away.

Once more, she tugs my hand. I comply.

Through the flames we walk, across charred floor, between ash covered shelves, down stairs, impossible stairs that shouldn’t hold my weight but do. Past the inferno. Between that moment of shadows that could be death.

Fresh air assaults my nostrils, fills my core, hammers my body to the ground. My world goes dark, my mind too lazy to bother to stick around any longer.

I open my eyes. How much time has passed? My body is on a gurney, a mask over my face, a man covered in grime hovers over me.

Are you all right? he says.

I glance right, then left. Where is the little girl? No, I say that out loud. I said it to the man. “Where is the little girl?”

His brow pulls together. “What girl? You were the last one out. There were no bodies found inside.” Pause. “Tell me how you did it…how you survived so long? You should’ve suffocated before you made it out.”

I don’t know, I tell him.

But that is a lie.

I do know. I know exactly how I survived.

 

©Laura L. Zimmerman 2016

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Photo Credit Unsplash Sweet Ice Cream Photography