I wrote this short story way back in June for a competition. The competition required a fantasy story exploring a new world, in under a thousand words. This version, the first one I wrote, is nearing two thousand words. While I did cut it down for the contest, I prefer the longer version. There’s a sentimental value to any short story you write at midnight in pink pen. Enjoy. If you’d like to read the shortened, polished version, you can find it here: http://writetheworld.com/groups/1/shared/2767/version/5257
Stealing cars was more fun when they weren’t magical.
Stu leapt into the third one, pressing the ignition button and the brake at the same time. The cars were all new, meaning his hotwiring techniques set off more alarms than Stu actually ever tripped. They were all magical, meaning at least two of them had tried to melt his eyebrows in creative ways. Stu had never seen such an angry llama.
Stu held the key fob close to the dashboard and tried the button again, with nothing but a beep in response. He had found the key in a tray by the door— it had to fit one of these. He couldn’t survive many more hotwire attempts.
Definitely not this car. The speedometer had a rooster stenciled into its face, and after the acid-spitting llama…
Stu kicked open the door and dove into the next car. He had little time. He could thank his stars, though, that none of these “alarms” had alarmed anyone but him. He was—
The silver convertible screamed. (more…)
Posted by Liam Wood on December 12, 2015
Imagine your perfect kitchen.
You have an oven. You have a stove. You have a microwave. Between the toaster and the refrigerator is a clock radio that plays your favorite tunes. Special lighting illuminates every inch of countertop. This kitchen is basically the Ikea model; functionality, variety, and brushed aluminum everywhere.
Unfortunately, this kitchen has no electrical outlets. When you go to make toast, you might be disappointed.
Now imagine the opposite. Your friend has a kitchen. It has electrical outlets every six inches. No matter how many beaters, blenders, or bread machines your friend owns, each one has an outlet. Unfortunately, she doesn’t have any of those appliances. In fact, despite all her outlets, she has nothing to plug in.
Yours might be the Ikea model kitchen, but hers is the Home Depot electrical showcase. (“Choose the outlet that fits your personality!!”)
Will either kitchen work if you want toast? Probably not. What kind of kitchen would give you toast? That’s pretty easy to imagine: the kitchen with the best of both worlds. Enough appliances to do the job, with enough outlets to power them all. Perfection.
Before I lose you, I promise I’m not going into kitchen design. I’d like to twist this metaphor to talk about speaking and writing (especially nonfiction). Despite the appliances, this is a “show don’t tell” kind of post. (more…)
Posted by Liam Wood on December 8, 2015
One of my favorite character stereotypes is the confident character. Richard Campbell Gansey III, Dorian Havilliard, even Valerie Solomon from Tessa Gratton’s story on Merry Sisters of Fate. There’s something about the character who has it all, who has an all-purpose mask they crafted for themselves over the years. Of course, since we write crafted fiction, this mask never stays on. Something will happen to tear it off, and there— that’s when you really enjoy the character.
Half of me wants to be such a character with such a mask. Half of me just wants to write millions of those characters. For the convenience of everyone, and especially me, here’s a step-by-step how-to on creating the confident character. (more…)
Posted by Liam Wood on May 20, 2015
Affection is the cornerstone of both romance and friendship.
Think about it. Romance without affection is nothing. Friendship without affection is two people hanging out together who have no reason to stick around each other. Flirting without affection? Basically just a cryptic argument.
Affection upholds both romance and friendship. It’s the glue that keeps two or more people together even though one of them is Ronan Lynch or Tony Stark or Mr. Darcy. Since both love and friendship deal with affection, we can manipulate both in the same ways. Basically, a good friendship is two inches from being a romance.
You can use any romance plot line you find as a friendship plot line. You can use any friendship plot line as a romance plot line. And whatever you choose, someone will want to write a fanfiction based on the opposite choice.
Let’s look at a classic example: Pride and Prejudice vs. The Lord of the Rings. (more…)
Posted by Liam Wood on May 15, 2015