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Inspirational Creative Nonfiction Adventure

NOT THE PROMPT

In early 2021, I discovered a website called Reedsy Prompts.ย 


While watching a writing advice video on the Reedsy YouTube channel, my interest was piqued by the mention of a no-entry-fee writing contest. A family member had recommended I enter a writing contest of some kind, but the idea of an entry fee had deterred me. Free entry? I clicked the link.ย 


Hmmm. Prompts. You fit your story to a prompt. Not sure if I like that . . . I guess these prompts are okay. I get ideas just reading some of them! Not that I donโ€™t have ideas of my own, Iโ€™ve just never really finished any of my personal projects, besides a few poems. 1,000 to 3,000 words? Doesnโ€™t sound hard. Easier than the entire novels I want to write. I started reading some of the stories and author bios.ย 


After careful thought, I made a Reedsy account, sometime in April of 2021. I picked the prompt โ€œWrite a story that spans a month during which everything changes,โ€ and brainstormed the idea of a pagan girl losing her family in the Great Fire of Rome, then being taken in by Christians. I somehow wrote the 1,000 words, and titled it From Ashes to Hope.


Time passed, A LOT of time. Months. My family took a three-day road trip to visit relatives. Iย intended to pack just one book in my backpack for the trip: โ€œThe Lord of the Ringsโ€. My goal was to finish the Appendixes. In case I succeeded, I put โ€œThe Silmarillion'' in my suitcase for the way home. Then I added another book: C.S. Lewisโ€™ โ€œOut of the Silent Planetโ€, which I was reading out loud to my family, mostly in the car.


Shortly before the trip, we went to the library, and I found a cool-looking animal fiction book: โ€œDarkwingโ€, by Kenneth Oppel. Iโ€™d previously glimpsed this one, next to Oppelโ€™s โ€œAirbornโ€. I enjoyed โ€œAirborn'', but never picked up โ€œDarkwingโ€. It came up in the online card catalog when I searched bats, fiction.


Once I started reading โ€œDarkwingโ€, I was riveted, and didnโ€™t want to stop. The opening was intriguing, with a father and son chiropter (fictional prehistoric bat) climbing their home tree for the sonโ€™s first gliding lesson. The descriptions were beautiful โ€“ I could see the world so clearly.


ย Right away, it became clear the protagonist, Dusk, was different than all the others. Though thereโ€™s danger in being too different, Duskโ€™s father Icaron protects him, and his twin sister Sylph sticks up for him. At least, in public. In private, she teases him mercilessly about his bald sails, too-big chest, and strange attempts to flap like the birds. Chiropters go down, never up, everyone tells Dusk. Only birds fly.


When a flying saurian crashes in the clearing, Duskโ€™s idyllic world is turned upside down.ย Saurians should be dead, the elders say. Dusk is more excited by the fact that something without feathers was flying. Its wings look like his sails.ย 


While I was reading this book, I would occasionally tell myself, โ€œThat is enough for now,โ€ and force myself to put it down. I didnโ€™t want this story to end.


Of course, it had to end somewhere, and Kenneth Oppel ended it nicely. As soon as I finished the Authorโ€™s Note, I wanted to flip back to page one and start again. Like a kid climbing out of a pool just so they can jump in again.


This desire is familiar, though not every book sparks it. Some books that do are: anything by J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Michael D. Oโ€™Brien, and Robert Louis Stevenson, โ€œKensukeโ€™s Kingdomโ€, by Michael Morpurgo, and โ€œWatership Downโ€, by Richard Adams. Those are the ones that come to mind right away.


In late October, the father of one of my dadโ€™s friends from work died. We went to the wake and funeral on a Wednesday, and strangely, the details were vividly impressed on my mind.ย 


The next day, Thursday, I looked at the prompts again, and was struck by โ€œStart your story with the words โ€˜Everything was ready for the ritual.โ€™โ€ A funeral is a ritual, I thought, and began writing.ย 


On Friday, I typed furiously, racing the clock for the word limit. Upon ending the story, I scrambled for a title, then came close to panicking when it wouldnโ€™t post - I had forgotten the tags! With mere seconds to spare, I chose tags, clicked the Post button, and sighed with relief as confetti burst across the screen. I had no time to enter โ€œThe Last Callโ€ in the contest.ย 

Things had changed since I entered From Ashes to Hope. Now there was an entry fee.ย 

My dad sent a link to "The Last Callโ€ to his co-worker, and he texted back shortly after, saying thank you, and โ€œYou are an amazing writer.โ€


In November, I wrote my third Reedsy story for the prompt โ€œStart your story with someone saying โ€˜Thanks a lotโ€™ (sarcastically or sincerely).โ€

I had been scribbling about a girl who basically worked at a dinosaur zoo, but it was NOT a Jurassic Park/World fanfic. I gave her a friend, made him a junior supervisor of sorts, brainstormed a conflict, and so began my Dinosaur Conservation & Rescue League series. I didnโ€™t enter โ€œTour Guideโ€ in the contest, telling myself, โ€œIt canโ€™t possibly win, so I shouldnโ€™t waste the money.โ€ I did not enter any of the next four, either.


Decemberย 

Inspirational Message

Two people told me this helped and encouraged them.ย 


New Arrivalย 

The second installment of DCRL was well received. Several people asked me to alert them when the next part came out.ย 


Februaryย 

Recent Writings #1| 2-3-2022ย 

Dhwani Jain was offering a writing challenge - a month in which to write a story from a prompt she came up with. I got busy with a project for my church, a summary of the life of Saint Agnes. Dhwani granted my request for an extension of her challenge, and I posted her story and the Saint Agnes summary together.ย 


March

Bible Excerpt

As soon as I read the prompt โ€œSet your story on a day when the sun never sets,โ€ I thought of Joshua Chapter X (In the Douay-Rheims version of the Bible, chapter numbers are Roman numerals), when the sun stood still. So I posted that.ย 


Aprilย 

โ€œWrite about somebody who likes to work in silence.โ€

My first thought? Owls! I went to the Easter Vigil, and had my story. My Mom encouraged me to enter Vigil in the contest, so I did. My first time with the entry fee.ย 


My goal now became to enter or post something every week.ย 


I feel that over the last year, my writing has grown and changed, and so have I. Iโ€™m writing a lot more now than I used to, which is good, since I want to be a published author. There are several novel ideas Iโ€™m working on, but I mostly write for Reedsy. Without Reedsy Prompts, and the people on here, I donโ€™t think my writing would be where it is now.ย 


A few special thank yous are due.ย 


The first thank you goes to Wolf Warrior. She was the first person to comment on any of my stories, back when I only had one! Weโ€™ve had long conversations about lots of different stuff. Also, my first long-term follower!ย 


Thank you to Katie W, for reading my stories whenever I ask, commenting, and following me!


Thank you, Endellion, for commenting, and following me, and especially for the shout-out in your bio!


Thank you, Dhwani Jain, for commenting and following me! Your critiques are always appreciated.ย 


A very sincere thank you to Alex Sultan, for the time you take to carefully read my stories, and the further time you take to write your detailed critique comments. I am so grateful to you. One thing which is truly ours, to do with what we will, is time. Your suggestions and encouragement have been invaluable. I doubt I would be writing as much without your example.ย 


Thank you to everyone who has helped me in any way.


โ€œI donโ€™t know half of you half as well as I should like, and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.โ€

J. R. R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

May 14, 2022 02:43

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25 comments

19:56 Jun 07, 2022

I'll pray for your friend, I hope they'll have a beautiful baby!

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Endellion .
15:01 May 27, 2022

Hey, question, do you use Duolingo?

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Endellion .
20:01 May 27, 2022

Yeah, I do. Is your username Guadalupe Heras on duolingo? There's someone in the leagues with that name and I was wondering if it was you.

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No, my Duo name is Rhombi; my profile picture is the same as on here. Whatโ€™s your Duo name? And what language are you learning?

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Endellion .
23:41 May 27, 2022

Ah. My duo name is the same. And at first, I was learning hebrew, but also took on High Valyrian, from game of thrones -which I have never watched and never want to, it's just a cool language.

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Cool! My sister, My Name Is My Own, found you and followed you, and so did I. Now we can keep an eye on each other and make sure we do our practice!

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Endellion .
21:00 May 23, 2022

๐Ÿšช๐ŸŒ‹๐Ÿ‡โ˜ ๏ธ XD

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Oh my goodness, I can hardly believe you have read all of these! So few people whom I know have read Watership Down. Did you like it? Have you read Leonard Wibberly's sequel to Treasure Island, Flint's Island? Have you read Richard Adams' Tales from Watership Down?

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Endellion .
01:30 May 31, 2022

I think I watched the movie of Watership Down and, no, I didn't like it. It was honestly boring and bloody, the movie at least. The book kinda fell out of my brain. No to both of those. I have a question: Have you read the Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson?

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The Watership Down movie is infamous, and I will NEVER watch it again. It does not accurately tell the story from the book. The book is one of my absolute favorites, and when I read it aloud to my family, they loved it. I have not read the Stormlight Archive. The title sounds intriguing. BIG NEWS: I GOT A DESK! It's dark brown wood, antique, with seven drawers. The drawer pulls are little rings. It has a glass top. It's in great condition. I share a room with my two sisters, and I've been doing all my writing at the dining room table. ...

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Endellion .
00:34 Jun 05, 2022

Yeah, I hated the movie. The Stormlight archive is a super complex series and the books are HUGE!! But they are really interesting books. I'M SO JEALOUS! I've always wanted a desk of my own, but our house and my (And my sister's) room is just way too small to have one. I tried to build one while we were living in our last house, but had to destroy it when we moved. :( Maybe I'll build another one when we move to a permanent home.

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BTW, I do not recommend reading Tales from Watership Down. I do recommend reading Flint's Island. About the Watership Down movie, I read the book out loud before we watched it. My Dad got up and didn't finish watching it because he disliked it so much. There is one plus I take away from watching it: I now get a joke I didn't previously get in the Wallace and Gromit movie Curse of the Were-Rabbit. I like big books, if they are well-written. I get excited when I find a thick book: "Yes! I will not endure the disappointment of finishing so...

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Alex Sultan
13:31 May 20, 2022

Thanks, friend. Here's to writing a dozen more stories ๐Ÿฅณ๐Ÿฅณ๐Ÿฅณ

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Oh, wow! Your year lol everywhere!! I also read Lord of The Rings by the way! It's just so good. Plus, your gratefulness is adorable lol. But anyways... I hope you succeed in writing stories her on Reedsy and keep me updated! Your stories are interesting! (๐ŸŒŒlol)

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Hi Shaylynn! Quoting a professor I know of, when you read Lord of the Rings, did you weep? Thank you for reading this, and thank you for reading my bio. I will definitely keep you updated.

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yesss LOL!!

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Dhwani Jain
07:45 May 15, 2022

Whoa!!! Thank you Guadalupe! It's surely been an year for you.

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