Monthly Archives: March 2019

Meet My First Dungeons and Dragons Character

Hello Writer Bees!

For the past couple month, my boyfriend and I have been obsessing over Critical Role. It a web show with nerdy voice actors playing Dungeons and Dragons. We were inspired to start our own game of DnD with some friends. And for the record, I’m the only lady in the group. So, I gotta represent the lady nerds out there in this hoard of men. But I am so excited to play. It’s been on my bucket list for quite some time.

Since we’ve never played before, we’re running through a short, test run campaign first. When the real campaign begins, I have a character ready, with a backstory and everything. Bear in mind, I’m still ironing out final details. I wanted to share my Dungeons and Dragons character with you guys.

Meet Poet, my Tiefling Rogue.

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(I’m totally Rafiki in this moment!)

Race: Tiefling

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Tiefling

Tieflings are a demon-like race in Dungeons and Dragons. Derived from human bloodlines, an infernal heritage has altered their features. So, she has a little devilish charm to her. Poet has lavender skin and curling horns, similar to a ram. Her eyes are nickel silver. A thin tail, measuring around 4 to 5 feet. Dark hair tied into double buns. Sharp fangs. Also, she’s resistant to fire, being a hellish creature and all. Normally, Tieflings get a bad rep in fantasy society, but Poet may just surprise you.

Their names often derive from infernal language. Some, however, choose “virtue” names. Names like Hope, Glory, Sorrow, or Chant would be considered virtue names. Her father was a writer and scholar, so the name Poet fits her upbringing. Also, her nickname could be Poe, like Edgar Allan Poe. Felt like the perfect name for her.

Want to see a Lady Doodle of Poet? Head over to the Patreon!

Class: Rogue

As cool as a Bard belting musical numbers would be, I couldn’t resist a sneaky rogue. To lurk in the shadows and toe the line between right and wrong, how enticing does that sound?

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Rogues

As a writer, Poet’s backstory was important to me. Yes, she comes with her own baggage. She was raised by her human father and her Tiefling mother. In a town that despises demonic inbreeds, their family was ostracized from society. Despite his relationship with Tieflings, her father was a notable author and historian. Living in a secluded home (either a snowy log cabin or a lighthouse), Poet was inspired to follow her father’s footsteps and become a Sage like him.

One day, Poet found her father slaughtered in their family home. The whole place was ransacked. Her mother was missing. A group of angry villagers appeared, to take her in to custody. She escaped the mob, barely. Now, she is on the run from the law, for a crime she did not commit. Luckily, Poet has found some companions to travel and adventure with.

Stats

I haven’t rolled stats yet for this character. But I do have an idea on the order of skills, from least to greatest.

  1. Dexterity (Highest)
  2. Intelligence (Plan to be an Arcane Trickster)
  3. Charisma (Persuasive as Fudge.)
  4. Strength
  5. Constitution
  6. Wisdom (Lowest. May Change.)

Poet’s gonna have awesome slight of hand tricks and be super stealthy. And be extra persuasive and perception. Also, her strong interest in history and arcana make her one magically curious cat.

Help Name My Half-Elf Rogue

Right now, we just started a short campaign, with test characters, just to get our feet wet. For an easy start, I chose a Half-Elf rogue, whose pretty similar to Poet in terms of skills. Although, this one likes to steal antiques and hunt for ghosts In her spare time. I wanted to try out these rogue shoes for a bit. And I’m already loving it. It’s nice to be able to hide and shoot goblins with a bow and arrow. While we are still waiting to set up a second game, I still need to come up with a name for my little Half-Elf ghostbuster thief.

If you have any ideas for names, or any DnD advice for a couple of beginners, leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you guys.

Write with Heart,

Lady Jabberwocky

Prompt of the Week: Cup of Sugar for a Witch

Write a story where the witch who lives next door is asking for an ingredient from you/ a character. You know, for her next concoction.


Write your response in the comments below. Best entry gets a shout out next week!

Write with Heart,

Lady Jabberwocky

Want to see Lady Jabberwocky’s response to this prompt? Go support the Patreon!

Fiction Friday: Fork in the Road (Short Story)

Image result for road through cornfield

“We are totally going to get murdered…”

“No, we are not.”

“By a psycho killer…”

“Cut it out, Molly.” At this point, I was completely exasperated.

“…Or an evil scarecrow.”

The sky burned golden orange, the only thing that was beautiful about the horrendous car ride.

“You watch too many horror movies,” I said, exhausted after five hours of driving. “And get your feet off the dashboard.” I scolded as I tapped her scuffed up sneakers. With a huff, she dropped her feet. Crossing her arms, Molly’s face pressed against the window. We drove in silence for a few more minutes.

“Anna, we are beyond lost.” She said. Reluctantly, I slowed the car to a stop and exhaled heavily.

“I must’ve just… taken a wrong turn somewhere,” I explained, fiddling with the gps map while trying to keep my eyes on the, albeit empty, road. I pushed all the buttons in frustration, with no response on the screen. “I think this thing is broken.” I concluded, giving up on the device. Technology and I never got along anyway.

I peered over at the young girl riding shotgun. Molly, my obnoxious and wonderful teenage sister. I remembered the day she was born almost too vividly. My mother’s water broke the day after my twelfth birthday. Then, it was a whole day of labor, Molly was stubborn even in the womb.

She stuffed her hands into the pockets of her red Power Rangers hoodie, feeling the autumn chill that seeped into the car. Her teal hair was braided loosely, a habit when she was bored.

“Sis, look out your window,”

I did. Nothing but corn stalks. Tall, green chutes that seemed to go on for miles.

“Now look out my window,” She gestured to the right.

More corn stalks. More nothing.

“Seriously. We’re freaking screwed.”

That hopeless lost feeling was starting to sink into my chest. And the dramatics of my sister, the city child, didn’t help either. Slouching in the leather seat, I faced forward. A single strip of road cut through the cornfields, seemingly going on forever. Maybe Molly was right, maybe this was like a scene in a horror film, where the murderer would appear through the thick corn fields, and we were sitting ducks.

“I can’t believe Brandon actually lives here. Actually, maybe I can, a boring accountant from the middle of nowhere. Sounds about right.” To Molly, he didn’t strike her as exciting or interesting. And honestly? I felt that way about him too, occasionally. If it was up to her, she would date some artsy guy with a garage band and a tattoo.

An image of Brandon flashed through my mind, with his floppy blonde hair and his morning coffee scent.  The other day, while visiting his parents in Pennsylvania, he called me, suggesting I drive down to see them. ”They really want to meet you.’’ His voice sounded so eager over the phone, like a golden retriever waiting for a walk.

“He doesn’t live here, his parents do. He… wanted me to meet them,” I explained, not realizing how tense the last part sounded, then added. I recalled his directions. Drive through Dutch country, then drive fifty miles west to get to Gettysburg. “And you, baby sister, get to be my well behaved wingman.” I tossed her a smile, despite the ball of anxiousness at the pit of my stomach. My fingernails were chewed to the nubs. An unsettling pressure to fulfill certain expectations weighed on my shoulders.

We kept driving until the road was no longer straight, just left and right. The path divided into a perfect ‘T’.

“Fork in the road. Great.” I muttered to myself, stopping the car then running a hand through my shoulder length, chestnut brown hair. “Any luck with the map?” In her lap, there was a large paper map that had been collecting dust in my glove compartment. Paper maps were far more reliable to me, although she looked like she couldn’t make head or tails of it.

As we tried to figure out our location, the sound of hooves clopping against the pavement caught our attention. An older gentleman in a silver buggy with thin wheels held the reigns to an black stallion. He wore a sweat drenched shirt, leather suspenders, and a wide brimmed hat. The man gave us a sideways glance, which looked more like a nasty scowl. Even the horse seemed to scowl at us as they rode on by.

“Did he just glare at us?” I pondered out loud, raising an eyebrow.

“I don’t know. All I know is I’m adding creepy farmer guy to my list of possible murderers.” She joked, giggling. Her laughter was contagious, I couldn’t help but laugh.

Molly leans the side of her head against my shoulder. I needed to her the real reason for all of this, even if it was at a fork in the road, in the middle of nowhere Pennsylvania. “Brandon asked me to marry him.”

She lifted her head to look at me. Her hazel eyes grew wide. “What?” She asked, in total disbelief.

I bit my lip, trying to amend my phrasing. “Well, he asked what I thought about getting married.” It didn’t sound any better.

“Wait, wait, wait.” Her hands held up, her brow pinched. “You guys have only been dating for like a year, not even.” I had to give her credit for wise teenage logic. Somehow, Molly always managed to say exactly what someone needed to hear.

I sighed, cradling my face in my hands. “I know. That’s what I told him.” He said he was ready to take that next step. But was I? Were we ready, as a couple? Was I really ready to be someone’s wife? Was this what this whole trip to meet his parents was all about? To get their approval or something?  

Molly looked up at me with big curious eyes. “I don’t know, Moll, with Mom and Dad’s divorce being finalized… And me moving out… And Brandon, he’s…He’s so….” I couldn’t find the right words to finish that sentence.

“Not the one?” Molly offered, tilting her head.

My sister and I sat in the car, at a fork in the road, amongst corn fields in the middle of nowhere. We were lost, unbelievably lost.


Fun fact: This story was originally written in 2015, tweaked in 2019. Inspired by the writing prompt “fish out of water” from Fiction Writing class. See what stories can come from a simple writing exercise?

Write with Heart,

Lady Jabberwocky

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4 Story Clichés to Avoid At All Costs

Hey Writer Bees!

Hope life is treating you better than usual.

Today, we are talking about clichés. Those overused and utterly boring plot devices that drag a story down into the abyss of unoriginality. Here are four clichés to avoid so your story can shine in all it’s original and spectacular glory.

Describing Self in Mirror

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I confess, I’m guilty of this one. It’s tricky to describe what a first person narrator looks like. But it is unrealistic. How many times have you looked at your reflection and described yourself to yourself? Unless your narrator is incredibly self indulgent and narcissistic, talking about one’s reflection is a cheap trick. And some find it a bit lazy.

Instead, leave it up to the reader’s imagination. Let them create an image of the character themselves. Or, have another character make a comment about one’s appearance. This will throw subtle hints to the reader about what the narrator looks like. Maybe something like, “Wow, your hair has grown so long!” or “You look just like your father.”

You know what I mean? You know what I mean.

All Hail, The Chosen One

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Yeah, that’s right, I’m calling out characters like Harry Potter and Frodo and (I’m so sorry) King Arthur. Fight me. Many fantasy stories have this idea of the Chosen One, the guy who is destined to save the world, defeat the big baddie, find or destroy the magical item. The fates have decided that this is THE guy to do all that. And he happens to still be in high school or college.

Truthfully? No divine intervention required. Your hero does not need to be chosen by destiny to be special. Heroes aren’t born, they’re created. Just because they were “chosen”, does not make them heroic in nature. It just forces a character into a role. Make your character a hero worth rooting for. Give them the motivation behind their good deeds and give their true purpose to defeat evil wherever it lurks.

What a Knockout

Image result for anime  fainting

Did a character suddenly fall unconscious? And they wake up in another location? That’s a weak transition. And if that were to happen in real life, you’d need to rush to the hospital, not the next scene. Having a character faint just to move to another location quickly is overly dramatic and far too convenient. There are ways to ease into a new setting and make for a more graceful transition. Try and figure out how to move the plot along some other way.

Bad Parents Make Bad People

Big cliché alert. Antagonist who are products of horrible childhoods. It’s touch to justify a jerk of a character and his or hers bad behavior. And things like abuse or cruel parents make the evil character easy to forgive. No, I’m not trying to belittle someone’s tragic backstory. And yes, these things do happen in real life. However, I’m just saying , It can’t be that simple to explain away their flaws and their poor choice.

The only way to combat this tired cliché is to really focus on characterization. Give him or her a better reason to be a jerk than their bad parents. And keep in mind, not every antagonist comes from a broken home. Think about the jerks that come from perfectly lovely families. Now that’s scary.

Only You Can Tell Your Story

While some clichés are tough to avoid, let your story speak for itself. Don’t copy parts from other books or movies. Pick those boring clichés out with a tweezer and let your originality stand on it’s own. Turn stereotypes on it’s head and leave dull plot lines in the dust.

What’s one cliché in writing you can’t stand? Let me know in the comments. And don’t forget to check out the tip jar.

Write with Heart,

Lady Jabberwocky

Words for Writers Wednesday: When Passion Pays the Bills

Don’t fret over rejection and bad news.

Because soon, very soon,

Passion will be paying the bills.


Recently, I got two three rejections letters for jobs I’ve applied for. As disappointing as that is, I have to have faith that my passion for writing will keep me afloat someday.

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Prompt of the Week: Genre Swap!

Genre Swap! Whatever your WIP story is right now, change it to a completely different genre.


Write your response in the comments below. Best entry gets a shout out next week!

Shout out to Plant Electrician who had a hilarious entry for last week’s writing prompt.

Write with Heart,

Lady Jabberwocky

Want to see Lady Jabberwocky’s response to this prompt? Go support the Patreon!

To the Teacher Who Changed My Life

In the spirit of International Women’s day, I’ve decided to take a sentimental stroll down memory lane today. Let me tell you the story of the teacher who made me a writer and changed my life.

First off, I must shamelessly promote the tip jar. Check it out, just added a new reward tier on Patreon.

So Back in High School….

Let me give you an mental image of the kind of kid I was in school. An average B+ student. Definitely not one of the cool girls in school. I was shy and awkward and self conscious and a total mess. Seriously, I was. In Freshman year, I wrote my first fictional story and discovered I actually liked writing. English was my favorite subject. Here was the problem. In my personal life, there was no one to encourage me to pursue my talent, nor acknowledgement that I even had a talent. Being a teenager was hard enough, huh?

Until I Met this Teacher

For now, let’s call her Miss Judge. She was my English teacher in both my Freshman year and my Senior year. So she really saw my growth as a writer. And she saw the potential in me that I didn’t even know existed.

Miss Judge was a kind and lovely person. She introduced me to literature that initially inspired me to write. The first story I ever wrote was probably in her class. Works like ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’, ‘Of Mice and Men’ And Greek Mythology. Speaking of Mythology, towards the end of Freshman year, my high school wanted to remove Greek Mythology from the curriculum and planned on throw away a bunch of books away. The horror. That book sparked my love of fantasy and magic and everything supernatural. Before they were tossed in the garbage, she gave me one of those books. Torn and tattered, it will always remain on my bookshelf.

Struggles with Self Esteem

This one time, in class, we were assigned to write a scene inspired by Hamlet, the play we were reading at the time. I was so excited that I worked extra hard on this two page script. I even researched authentic Shakespearean language. After I handed it in, my teacher was genuinely impressed and asked if she could read it to the whole class. I told her ‘no’. And even today, I still regret that decision. See, my confidence was under the floorboards at the time. I was incredibly self conscious, and felt like I was rubbing my great story in everyone’s face, and then everyone would hate me. “No, no, it isn’t that great. Surely, my work isn’t the best in the class.” Man, some days, I wish I had a time machine and could tell my younger self to not be afraid of showing my talent. That being awesome at something won’t belittle others. And honestly, I still struggle a little with that low self esteem logic today.

One of her many sweet notes.

Words of Encouragement

I kept in touch with her through my school years. In my Senior year, Miss Judge asked us to write journal entries, which she would read. I was still nervous about others reading my writing. I mean, there’s nothing that interesting about me, right? To break from that fear, I decided to just be funny. My journal was filled with my (embarrassing) humorous observations, kind of like what you see on the blog today. And she loved them. So, I kept writing. She said I had a natural talent as a writer and that I had a quirky voice. Thank goodness for that quirkiness. I was amazed and humbled and happy. My silly scribbles made someone laugh. Nothing was more fulfilling. Miss Judge wrote me these encouraging notes, pushing me to pursue a career as a writer. I still have those notes. The most touching note from her is scrawled in my yearbook, hoping that the next time she hears my name, it’s because I’d have won the Pulitzer prize.

Her note in my yearbook, from 2011.

To a wonderful teacher, I’d like to say thank you, from the bottom of my heart. I don’t know where I’d be right now if it wasn’t for your encouragement. You inspired me to pursue creative writing and made me the writer I am today. And you also inspired me to start this blog, where my quirkiness has room to play and where I can encourage other writers to write their story.

In honor of International Women’s day, who’s a lady in your life that has made a big impact in some way? Has any teacher inspired you to pursue something? Let me know in the comments. I’d love to hear from you guys. I gotta go, I’m drowning in tears over here.

Write with Heart,

Lady Jabberwocky