Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Work-In-Progress Blog Challenge

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve posted anything. I have several very good excuses for this. One reason is I have a rather important essay due in my English class and I’ve been experiencing major issues with it. Another reason is that Hurricane Marie and Hurricane Norbert hit close enough to send some amazing waves my way. I love my writing, but it’s not very often we get waves like we just had, so I sort of ditched writing to go surfing. Sorry. 

But the main reason I haven’t been writing is because I simply couldn’t think of anything to blog about. But two days ago, out of the blue, I got challenged to a WIP blog challenge by Paola Crespo. She’s this awesome person I met on Twitter who has a pretty epic writing blog that I think you all should check out. Anyway, the gist of the challenge is this:

Blog the first lines/first paragraph of the first 3 chapters of your work in progress and then tag 4 other writers to do the same. 

I decided that this challenge has two purposes, the first being to help my readers get familiar with my writing. The other purpose is to keep me humble. I mean, honestly, these are the opening lines of the first draft of my newest project. So of course it’s not going to read like poetry. It’s not even going to read like prose. It’s going to read like that half-finished story you have shoved away somewhere because you hope nobody will ever read it.

But I think this will be pretty cool anyway. My work in progress is actually no longer The Stump of the Terebinth Tree. I have that as cleaned up as it’s going to get. I’m currently working on the second book in the Thane series called The Iron Rod. You haven’t heard of that one, have you? Of course most of you haven’t, because I’ve never really talked about it before. So today will go down in history as the first time The Iron Rod was ever mentioned in cyber space. Exciting, right? Anyway, I’ll stop beating around the bush and post my stuff.

Promise not to laugh.

Okay, that might be asking too much. Let’s revise that to ‘Promise not to laugh super loud.’

The elf sat with many Leonites about him, telling the history of the people of Thane. His voice had once been cracked and coarse, his blind eyes rolling about wildly as he told his tales, but now his voice rang clear and his eyes were bright. Once he had been called crazy and old, telling his stories with a talent that only elflings from a small oasis had been privileged to hear. But no longer. Now he had come into his life as it always should have been, holding the place of a beloved historian in the Realm of Masiah.

Chapter 1:
Colors swirled about him, trying to sort themselves out. Murmurs fluttered by his ears, causing searing pains everywhere. Blood trickled down his face, getting into his eyes and mouth, but when he tried to wipe it away, his fingers would barely move. He tried to speak, but no noise came. With one last effort to cry out, darkness took him. 

Chapter 2:
Wanderer walked aimlessly down the long wooden hallway, his mind calculating the various exits he would be able flee through if the need arose. He knew this was a pointless exercise, but he couldn’t help himself. So he continued to survey his surroundings, trying to suppress the anxiety he always felt upon being in any kind of enclosed area, even if this particular enclosed area happened to be one of the safest and most beautiful castles in Thane.

And there it is. Those aren’t actually as bad as I remember them being, but of course they need improvement. If you can think of any ways to fix it up, comment below! I need as much help as I can get.

Now I get to nominate four other writers to do this same exercise: 
  1. Meg Davis (@inversedream). An amazing person I met through Twitter. She is always encouraging my writing efforts, which is cool and inspiring coming from an awesome writer like her. See and follow her blog here and read her beautiful stories here.
  2. J. Lynn Martin (@JLynn_Martin). She is super sweet and has spread the word about my blog multiple times. If you are looking for somebody to follow on Twitter, then she’s a must. And if you aren’t looking for somebody to follow on twitter…well, follow her anyway because she’s great.  She also has a pretty neat website that is worth checking out.
  3. Mia Sandara (@triadvstrinity). I just recently ran into her on twitter and she is totally worth following. She has a pretty snazzy looking blog and her yet unpublished book looks amazing based on what I’ve seen. Go read about it on her “books” tab.
  4. Jason K. Lewis (@JasonKLewisWrit). This guy is officially my favorite modern day author. He writes amazing Fantasy and Science Fiction. Do yourself a favor and check out his novellas. And while you’re at it you might as well hop over to his blog, which has some great posts about self publishing.

And that’s it. The lucky chosen four. I’m definitely excited to see what they come up with! Hopefully you all will check out their stuff, too. They totally deserve it! 


  1. Oh my goodness! Reading only the first few lines is an exercise in continuous suspense! Very intrigued to read more...

    My feedback is:

    #1. Passive Voice. "Had been" is our mutual mortal enemy and we must stimy his attempts at smothering our action. In your case I would rewrite the second sentence of the prologue:

    "His voice, once cracked and coarse, now rang clear. His blind eyes rolling about wildly as he told his tales."

    #2. Tangible Descriptives.

    I as the reader need to FEEL what is happening by HOW it is happening. Specificity with the sensations of human anatomy is a passion from my ballet days. You can also use this technique to show the details about the character and his surroundings.

    For example:

    "Blood trickled down his face, getting into his eyes and mouth, but when he tried to wipe it away, his fingers would barely move."

    could be rewritten:

    "Blood trickled into his eyes and mouth but when he tried to wipe it away his fingers -

    a) clenched his robe as his muscles cramped with paralysis."

    b) remained as motionless as his exhausted mind."

    c) lethargically touched his stubby beard as if weighed down in the depths of a breathable sea."

    I hope some of those jump start you. I know I got the biggest inspiration reading about how verbs need to "snuggle" and ever since then, that visual has challenged me to SHOW through action!

    Thank you so much for tagging me! Completely honored! I will link to my first three soon!

    Love Always,
    ~ Meg

    1. Wow. Thank you SO much Meg! Your feedback is so helpful and way more than I was expecting. You gave me tons of ideas. Now editing won't be so horrifying. Thanks you!
      I'm so excited to read what you come up with. =)



  2. Hi Hannah

    This is awesome! I am super intrigued by your first paragraphs and definitely want to read more. Although, I should probably start with The Stump of the Terebinth Tree (great title by the way!!) or else I will be completely lost haha. This is great writing. I don't want to hear any more self-criticism, miss *wags finger*

    Thanks for sharing (and for the shout out)! :D

    1. I'm so glad you liked it. And thank you for mentioning that you like the title for my first book. I've been struggling with whether I should change it or not. Now I won't. =)
      Thanks for challenging me! This is a great exercise.



  3. We are all a work in progress. And not knowing what to write is normal. At least for me. Thanks for sharing your honesty.

    1. Well thank YOU for reading and taking the time to comment! I really appreciate it. =)

  4. Not only is this a great (and fun) post, thanks for all your suggestions for other writers' work to check out. I did and am grateful.

    1. I am so glad you checked them out! They deserve it. Thank you for reading!

  5. Thanks for sharing your opening lines... I'm not normally one for fantasy worlds and such but I do love Christian YA, so I'll enjoy seeing how your WIP turns out!!!

    I FINALLY posted my response to the challenge here... but be kind as you read... it's in the VERY EARLY stages!!! :)


    God Bless! :)


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